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I-League Likely to be Postponed by a Month, Premier League Displays Financial Might Amidst Pandemic And More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): I-League likely to be postponed by one month, to start in December: CEO | Premier League defies virus crisis to flex financial muscle | Serie A president tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of meeting on fund bids | Former England pair Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere left without clubs | Asian Champions League East Zone to resume on November 18.
I-League 2020-21 season dates

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) did not formally announce the dates but the I-League this season was set to kick off by the end of November.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said on Tuesday that the start of the 2020-21 season would probably be postponed by a month due to difficulties faced by clubs to begin their pre-season. 

“We had a meeting with I-League club owners a couple of days back. Majority of them said the situation in some parts of the country is still grim and so impossible to start pre-season. Coming of foreign players (to India) is also a problem,” Dhar said.“So, they wanted to change the start date from November end to December end and the end of league date from February end to March end.”

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Dhar added that the AIFF will further discuss the matter with Bengal’s Indian Football Association (IFA) along with the state government before taking a final decision.

“We are checking with the IFA and state government. The league may start in December. It will be decided very soon,” he said. “We are learning everyday about life in the biosecure bubble and we want to take experience to the I-League. This qualifying round is just for a few days but the I-League and ISL will run more than 100 days and so will be of much bigger scale.” 

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) did not formally announce the dates but the I-League this season was set to kick off by the end of November. The League was set to be staged across venues in West Bengal due in a bio-secure bubble owing to the raging Covid-19 pandemic. 

Premier League Flex Financial Might 

The Premier League seems to have brushed under the carpet the uncertainties due to the pandemic using its financial might. Even as issues around the future of the matches behind closed doors along with that of broadcast and commercial contracts linger on, English clubs have spent more than £1 billion ($1.29 billion) in the transfer window. 

The top flight clubs have spent around  £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) on transfers as per reports, which is the lowest amount spent since 2015.

"The sensible way to look at it was that maybe the transfer market is not going to be as buoyant as in previous years," John Purcell of football finance specialists Vysyble told AFP."What we've ended up with is actually the second-highest net spend total for a summer window ever.

"When clubs are doing these deals it tends to be a low down-payment and then the rest of the amount that needs to be paid is back-ended,” he added. "That suggests to us that, firstly, the clubs are thinking this Covid situation is not going to last forever. Secondly, it is forcing the clubs to stack up their risk exposure a little bit further down the track."

While the money spent for transfers in La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga have decreased dramatically with Real Madrid not making even a single signing this season.

Serie A President Tests Positive

Serie A, in a statement, stated that its president, Paolo Dal Pino, tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the October 9 meeting scheduled to assess bids by private equity funds for a stake in its media business.

"President Paolo Dal Pino tested positive for COVID-19 following a swab carried out yesterday (Monday)," the Italian top-flight said in a statement."Asymptomatic and in isolation at home, he will follow the procedures set out in the health protocol."

Following the positive test, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina has also made the decision to self isolate himself. 

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Dal Pimo, who was appointed in January this year, has been promoting a project to sell a minority stake in the newly-established media company to manage the main source of revenue for the league. Two private equity consortia, led by CVC Partners and Bain Capital are bidding for a stake and are offering around 1.6 billion euros ($1.89 billion) and are set to select the bidder at a meeting on Friday. 

According to a source, the meeting will be held on its scheduled date on Friday despite Dal Pino’s positive test. 

Welbeck, Wilshere Left Without Clubs 

Former Manchester United and Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck and ex Arsenal player Jack Wilshere have been left without clubs after the termination of their contract as the transfer window closed on Monday. 

Welbeck was let go by Watford after the club was relegate

d from the Premier League. The 29-year old striker, who has suffered many injuries in his career, was earning around $1,29,460 a week at the club. 

Wilshere was released by West Ham United. He was sidelined due to his injury at the London club. 

"I have been fully fit for a large period of time at the club, including over the course of the last eight months - training hard every day - but unfortunately have not been given the opportunity to play,"  said Wilshere. "I am still incredibly hungry, ambitious and desperate to play football and achieve success."

Both Wilshere and Welbeck can now sign for any club at any point in time. Although, the transfer window for intra-Premier League deals and international transfers have been closed but the duo has a chance to trade in the second tier Championship clubs until October 16. 

ACL East Zone From Nov. 18

The Asian Football Confederation released the fixture of the East Zone group stage matches for the Asian Champions League (ACL), which will be held from November 18 to December 4.  

The Asian tournament was suspended in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic and resumed in the West Zone in Qatar on September 14 where Iran's Persepolis won against Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr last weekend. Theywill meet the top team from the East Zone for the title clash on December 19.

The games in East Zone will restart with Perth Glory, which is among the three Australian teams in the competition, taking on Shanghai Shenhua in a Group F match on November 18.

Groups G and H will also resume the fixtures on the same day with Malaysian champion Johor Darul Ta'zim playing Guangzhou Evergrande and Sydney FC facing Shanghai SIPG.

Leader of Group E, FC Seoul will face second-placed Beijing Guoan on November 2 and teams in Groups G and H are set to play in a centralised venue in Malaysia. 

However, According to the report by Yonhap news agency,  the venue for clubs in Groups E and F are yet to be decided. 

The East Zone clubs might face challenges with their fixtures due to rescheduled domestic league campaign, closed borders and Covid-19 protocols. 

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