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FIFPro Report Says Public Perception of Footballers Incorrect; AIFF to Hold National Camp in Odisha In September and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Public has the wrong idea of footballers, says FIFPro | AIFF plans to hold a national camp in September before the WC qualifier against Qatar | Football fans not likely to return to stadiums in September, says Spain’s health minister | Qatar to host Asian Champions League matches in West Asia | Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak holds talks with UEFA president.
Moroccan player Abderrazak Hamdallah

Moroccan player Abderrazak Hamdallah continues to support 1,000 families affected by the coronavirus pandemic in his home country.

The global football players’ union, FIFPro, in a report published on Thursday stated that the notion that footballers neglect social responsibility has been proven wrong by their remarkable initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The report highlighted many professional footballers’ contributions in the battle during the pandemic. A lot of players have demonstrated generosity and creativity amidst the crisis. From establishing dedicated funds to setting up charities with a view to donating to food banks, funding medical equipment in hospitals, participating in campaigns to increase awareness and protecting people from catching the virus players have been hugely involved with their communities during this time. 

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"Professional football players and athletes across sports have developed incredible initiatives around the world to help their communities, their clubs and teams and often their teammates," FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said. "The public perception of athletes not living up to their social responsibility could not be more wrong."

Names mentioned in the report included AS Monaco player Keita Baldé, who organised accommodation for 200 workers from Senegal based in Spain after they lost their jobs in hotels. Bayern Munich duo Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich raised $5.71 million with their #wekickcorona campaign in Germany to support charitable associations and social institutions. Moroccan player Abderrazak Hamdallah continues to support 1,000 families affected by the pandemic in his home country. Esteban Granero, a player for Spanish third tier club Marbella, uses his Artificial Intelligence company to help fight the virus. 

AIFF National Camp in September 

The All India Football Federation will hold a camp for the senior national team in Bhubaneswar in early September before the 2022 World Cup qualifying round match against Qatar in October. 

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AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das, said a response from the Odisha government is yet to come with regards to the commencement of the national camp. If it happens, the players will train for a month before their match against Asian champions Qatar on October 8.

“With regards to the senior men’s team, our plan is to start the camp sometimes in early September. We want the camp in Bhubaneswar as the match against Qatar was scheduled there,” Das said.

“We’re in touch with the state government of Odisha as well as SAI. We are expecting to get a response from them. It’s a very tricky situation but we need to come up with the best possible solution given the circumstances,” he was quoted as saying by AIFF TV in a chat.

La Liga Fans’ Return Will Take Time 

The health minister of Spain has voiced doubts about spectators attending matches in September owing to the resurgence of coronavirus in the country. 

The Spanish government’s department of sports along with La Liga were expecting fans back in stadiums at a reduced capacity when the new season kicks off in September and were hoping to increase that to 50% in November before allowing a full capacity return in January. However, the imposed lockdown due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in June has raised concerns over the prospect of fans returning to the stadium. 

To be honest, I don’t see it, given the reality we are in,” health minister Santiago Illa told radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday. “We have seen some clusters of infections and although we have fortunately been able to control them, I still don’t see [fans returning].

“We’re going to take our time and provide information so the sports department can make the decision when necessary. We have to step carefully with the virus, and concentrating large numbers of people at this time is not advisable at all,” he added.

Qatar to Host ACL Matches

On Thursday Qatar announced that it will host all western region games through the semifinals of the Asian Champions League (ACL) matches this year after a seven month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that 16 teams --  four from Saudi Arabia and four from the United Arab Emirates -- will play in a centralised venue in Qatar that will begin from September 14 until the semi finals on October 3. 

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The countries participating in the hub from East Asia will be China, Thailand, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia. However, the centralised venue in East Asia for the matches scheduled to resume from October 16 has not been decided.

“Member Associations have until July 24, 2020 to submit their interest to host the AFC Champions League matches in the East Zone,” the AFC said in a statement.

Regional hubs in West and East Asia will host matches till the semi-finals and the final will be faced by the best team from each region on December 5. 

City chairman and UEFA Hold Talks

Manchester City and UEFA initiated peace talks after the club’s bitter legal battle culminated with the club’s two-year European ban for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday.

In an attempt to mend the broken relationships between the club and European football’s governing body, City Chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak has started clear-the-air talks with the UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin.

City sources said the club had a problem with the process that led to their ban by the investigatory chamber, led by Yves Leterme, not UEFA itself. CAS, however, has not released a statement in this matter. UEFA themselves have not made a formal statement on whether or not they want to further appeal the decision -- although that move is deemed to be unlikely.

City boss Pep Guardiola said the club deserved an apology for the way they had been treated by UEFA and the investigating team.

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