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The Hat-trick | Jamshedpur, Hyderabad Share Points; FA Formulates Post-Brexit Rules, Champions League Creates History

The Hat-trick (Top Football News of the Day): Stephen Eze late strike earns Jamshedpur FC a draw against Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) | Premier League and EFL clubs cannot sign foreign players until they are 18 as per the new rules for players from the European Union post Brexit | France’s Stéphanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a game in the men’s UEFA Champions League, at Juventus’ 3-0 home win over Dynamo Kyiv.
Stephen Eze of Jamshedpur FC

Stephen Eze of Jamshedur FC celebrates with teammates after scoring against Hyderabad FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) match (Pic: AIR Sports, Twitter).

Jamshedpur FC stole the points from the clutches of Hyderabad FC with an 85th minute strike from Stephen Eze which enabled them grind out a 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday.  

Eze completed a move which was initiated by Nerijus Valskis (the club’s talisman), whose cross was cleared by Adil Khan, but only to the foot of Aitor Monroy. Monroy set the ball up perfectly for the Nigerian, who obliged with a thundering strike. Earlier in the half, Hyderabad took the lead due to some sloppy work by Jamshedpur goalkeeper Pawan Kumar. Hitesh Sharma sent a long ball for Halicharan Narzary, who cut in into the box from the left and took a shot at goal. Pawan slapped the ball away but straight into the path of Aridane who pushed it into the net.

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Jamshedpur could have ended up victorious had their 76th minute goal counted. Laxmikant Kattimani's attempt to fist Monroy's free-kick hit Aridane and went in but the linesman flagged Peter Hartley offside and the goal was disallowed. The replays, though, showed that the Jamshedpur skipper was not in an offside position.

Jamshedpur manager Owen Coyle was quick to point out the refereeing error. He did a Robbie Fowler too. While the SC East Bengal coach had spoken about Indian players being poor in quality after the side’s loss to Mumbai City FC on Tuesday, Coyle went after the referees. The guess is that it is fashionable in the ISL for disgruntled managers to cite anything and everything other than their team and team dynamics for their shortcomings.

“I thought we played really well in the second half,” said Coyle after the match. “We deserved the equaliser. It's extremely upsetting to see a fair goal being disallowed. We have players and coaching staff from abroad in the ISL. The league's quality is improving. Last year, they had foreign referees. Now they don't. Something has to be done to improve refereeing decisions on the field.”

With the stalemate, Hyderabad moved up to the fourth position on the league standings  with five points from three matches. Jamshedpur are in eighth position with two points from three games.

Brexit: New Work Permit Rules for EU Signings

Like anything related to Brexit, the English FA’s new post-Brexit signing rules for its clubs promises to help boost local talent. However, like all things Brexit, the feelings or implications at first glance, may not hold true once the various dynamics kick in during implementation. 

As per the new rules, which will come into force once the UK’s transition period to leave the European Union (EU) ends on December 31, Premier League and EFL clubs cannot sign foreign players until they are 18. All transfers from European Union nations will also be subject to work permits allocated through a points-based tier system.

Brits and their tiers! They have tiered stadiums to allow fan entry. Now they will tier players before singing them on. Complicated. Well, Brexit is a complicated mess to start with.

The move, which has been approved by the Home Office, prescribes a limit to the number of overseas players. For footballers under the age of 21, clubs can only sign three overseas players in a transfer window, and six overall in a season.

The short term slowing down of high flying English clubs is mitigated by the belief of the FA and the league bosses that this would help football in the country in the long run, encouraging clubs to produce more homegrown talent. The new rules will be in place before the next transfer window in January. 

Much like the rules that govern the signing of overseas players from non EU nations, weightage would be given to those who have played international matches. Other criteria in the points system include senior and youth international appearances, the “quality of the selling club, based on the league they are in, league position and progression in continental competition” and club appearances. Players need 15 points in order to be granted a permit to work/play in the UK. The FA, apparently, wants a higher threshold. 

“The system meets the joint objectives of the Premier League and the FA allowing access to the best players and future talent for clubs, as well as safeguarding England teams, by ensuring opportunities for homegrown players,” said a statement from the FA. “In the Premier League, the number of overseas U21 players a club can sign will be limited to three in the January transfer window and six per season moving forwards. This enables the recruitment of the best players from around the world to train and play together with homegrown talent. 

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“The UK’s exit from the EU will also mean that clubs will not be able to sign players from overseas until they are 18. The leading football bodies have also agreed to work together to continue to improve the player pathway system,” it added.

In the women’s game, the entry requirements will not take youth international appearances or the selling club’s progression in European competitions into account. That gives the women’s sides an ever-so-faint leeway. But not much.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League has worked with the FA to come to an agreement to ensure no part of Brexit should damage the success of the Premier League, or the prospects of the England teams.

“Continuing to be able to recruit the best players will see the Premier League remain competitive and compelling and the solution will complement our player development philosophy of the best foreign talent alongside the best homegrown players. Following the January transfer window, we look forward to reviewing the agreement with the FA,” he added.

Juventus Win, United Stunned, Barca Cruise

Stephanie Frappart

France’s Stéphanie Frappart made history last night, becoming the first woman to referee a game in the men’s UEFA Champions League as she took charge of Juventus’ 3-0 home win over Dynamo Kyiv.

Frappart also officiated the 2019 Women's FIFA World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands and became the first female referee to take charge of a French Ligue 1 match when Amiens played Strasbourg in April last year. She also took charge of the Europa League game in October when Leicester City hosted Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.

Frappart enjoyed a quiet night out in Turin. The hosts took the lead via Federico Chiesa, who headed home from Alex Sandro’s cross in the 21st minute. Just before the hour mark, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 750th goal of his career, tapping in Álvaro Morata’s goal-bound shot for Juve’s second of the night. Morata sealed the deal moments later scoring Juve’s third.

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Meanwhile in Paris, Manchester United went down to PSG 3-1 after a first half blitz where it looked like they could have put away the hosts many times over. Playing on the counterattack, they were constantly threatening PSG’s goal, with Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial spurning a fair few opportunities to put the game to bed in the first half itself. This despite the fact that it was the Parisians who scored first via Neymar in the 6th minute.

Fred’s second yellow and subsequent red card in the 70th minute meant United, who went down 2-1 just a minute prior to that, were forced onto the backfoot for the last third of the game. At full time the point they needed to reach the last 16 had eluded them. They will have another shot at it next Tuesday at RB Leipzig. Fail and they are out. 

FC Barcelona remained favourites to finish top of their group as they maintained their 100% start to the Champions League with a comfortable win at Ferencvaros. They can ensure they win the group with a point against Juventus next week.

Ronald Koeman made five changes to the XI that started in Sunday's win over Osasuna, which included resting Lionel Messi. However, the 33-year-old's influential presence was not missed as Barca all but sealed victory by scoring three goals in the first 28 minutes. The goals came via Antoine Griezmann (14’), Martin Braithwaite (20’) and Ousmane Dembele (28’).

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