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FIFA Wants Uniform Global Use of VAR, ISL Winner Biswajit Saha Struggles After Lockdown Forces Shutting Down of His Food Stall and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FIFA wants uniform and unchanged global use of VAR, says Pierluigi Collina | Indian Super League-winning defender Biswajit Saha struggles to make ends meet after lockdown forces shutting down of his food stall | UEFA extends Champions League streaming rights for ViacomCBS | AFC plans to complete 2020 club competitions | Australian league boss says games will resume on time despite stranded teams.
FIFA VAR usage in football competitions

While an array of variations in the use of VAR in different competitions and national leagues exist, a uniform approach is what FIFA is targeting to achieve next.

FIFA called for uniform use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) across all competitions. So far, various leagues and tournaments have made use of the VAR differently. For instance, despite being protocol, the Premier League did not use VAR to check for encroachment off the line by goalkeepers during penalty kicks. 

Football’s law body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) was initially in-charge of VAR during its experimental phase when it was introduced as a part of the game’s law. FIFA has now taking over its implementation and former World Cup referee and chairman of FIFA's Referees' Committee, Pierluigi Collina, called the move a “natural transition”.

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“IFAB as an organisation has the duty to govern the laws of football, including VAR and the protocol and regulations. Once the laws of the game are set, IFABs job is over,” he told Reuters.

While an array of variations in the use of VAR in different competitions and national leagues exist, Collina has demanded a uniform approach.

Collina also added that FIFA did not want to face a situation where players in an international tournament encounter surprise decisions.

ISL Winner’s Struggle for Livelihood

Indian Defender Biswajit Saha, who was a part of the ATK’s winning squad of the 2014 Indian Super League (ISL), is struggling to make ends meet six years down the road after his food joint closed down due to coronavirus lockdown.

Having suffered a hamstring injury in 2018, the defender was left without a club and has been on the path of recovery since. Faced with economic difficulties, Saha decided to open a food stall with his brother near his home in Bandel in Hooghly district, West Bengal.

While Saha’s practice in the last two years was beginning to bear fruits and he was planning a comeback by playing in the Calcutta Football League, those dreams seem too far now with the onset of a Covid-19 pandemic.

"The lockdown has spoilt everything. The shop is not doing great. There are very few customers due to the health crisis. As far as making a comeback is concerned, I was working hard but I am not getting any younger. This (period of no football activity) will dent my chances further," said Saha.

Champions League Streaming Deal

ViacomCBS has entered into an  agreement with UEFA to stream Champions League matches live on CBS All Access in the US till 2024.

The live-streaming platform and the European football’s governing body were in a three-year contract prior to this. ViacomCBS is the sole English-streaming platform in the country.

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CBS All Access, the company’s video-on-demand and live streaming service, will go live with all the UEFA club matches each season, featuring all Champions League and Europa League matches, as well as the UEFA Super Cup.

CBS is also going to marquee matches on the CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network during the tenure of the deal, the company said in a statement.

The League was suspended in March due to the imposed lockdown, and will be concluded with an eight-team mini-tournament in Lisbon during August.

Asian Champions League Fixtures

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that the Asian Champions League will be held in September and October in two regional hubs, with the final in December. 

The group matches will be played in a round-robin format and from the round of 16, there will be single knock-out matches instead of the usual two-legged ties.

The matches will recommence in West Asia on September 14, and then in East Asia on October 16, with no decision yet on whether the venues will be centralised, or not. 

The teams are going to play within their regional parts till the top team from both the hubs meet for a final clash on December 5.

Australian League to Start on Schedule

The head of Football Federation Australia, Greg O’Rourke, said that the top league of the country is going to start on the scheduled date of July 16 even after three teams were stranded in Melbourne due to the pandemic. 

There have been various attempts to fly back the teams -- Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and Western United -- out of Victoria to neighbouring New South Wales, but have failed due to border restrictions.

Even if the teams returned, they would need to go under a two weeks isolation period  before joining the league and the FFA is relying on New South Wales authorities to allow the teams to travel there.

O’Rourke further added that the organisers had a week’s leeway at the end of August to incorporate any schedule changes in case of emergency and could move the championship-deciding final to August 23 back if need be.

He also confirmed players were only under contract till August end, leaving little room for adjustments.

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