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Lionel Messi Officially Asks FC Barcelona For Release; Harry Maguire Dropped From England Squad After Found Guilty For Assault and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Lionel Messi submitted an official request to FC Barcelona to activate clause that allows his release for free | England football team drops Harry Maguire after a guilty sentence in Greece assault case | FIFA relaxes rules on releasing players for international window | Bayern Munich vs Sevilla: UEFA to allow fans to attend Super Cup in Budapest | ISL: ATK-Mohun Bagan rope in young India forward Manvir Singh.
Lionel Messi wishes to exit FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi has made his dissatisfaction with FC Barcelona’s hierarchy very evident over the past few months, clashing with them often.

Lionel Messi has officially submitted a request asking to leave FC Barcelona this summer. The Argentina international, 33, sent a fax to the club saying he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.

Messi’s camp believes that a clause in his contract means that he can walk away for no fee. Barcelona, though, have cited that the clause expired in June,  and Messi is contracted to the club until 2021 with a €700 million buy-out clause.

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Messi has made his dissatisfaction with the club’s hierarchy very evident over the past few months, clashing with them — and publicly calling out former director of football Eric Abidal — over their handling of player salary cuts at the beginning of the pandemic. The 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League only added fuel to the fire.

In the clearest indictment of the board — as well as a confirmation that this could yet be real — former club captain, Carles Puyol tweeted his support for Messi, saying: “respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend.”

Messi’s closest friend in Barcelona, Luis Suarez — who has been told he can leave by newly installed manager Ronald Koeman — responded to Puyol’s tweet with two applause emojis.

Maguire Dropped

Gareth Southgate has dropped Harry Maguire from England’s national squad after the Manchester United captain was sentenced for 21 months in Greece for assault, bribery and resisting arrest. 

Maguire’s sentence was suspeneded and he will not serve any prison time. His brothers Chris and Joe have been served with 13 month sentences.

"In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said.

"As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week."

The defender had denied all charges and said he will appeal the decision.

FIFA Relaxes Rules on Player Release

FIFA announced a relaxation of rules regarding release of players for the September international window in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement the governing body for the sport said clubs bound to release players to the national team when the calendar is reserved for the games internationally may refuse to do so under circumstances where players need to self isolate for at least five days. That applies regardless of whether the period of quarantine takes place in the country of origin or arrival.

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"Many national governments have again implemented travel and immigration restrictions due to a renewed increase in COVID-19 infections. Some of these measures directly impact international competition, such as mandatory periods of quarantine or self-isolation and travel restrictions," the statement said. 

"As a result, in order to ensure that the well-being and health of all individuals involved in international competition is respected, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has, after consultation with UEFA, decided that the general rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches should not apply [...],” the statement added, listing rules for the same. 

The rules will be applied to the men’s international window between August 31 to September 8 and the women’s window between September 14 to 22. 

Fans Allowed at Super Cup

UEFA said fans will be allowed to return to the stadium for the Super League match scheduled to take place in Budapest between Bayern Munich and Sevilla on September 24. 

The UEFA executive committee made the decision to allow 30 percent of the 67,215 capacity Puskas Arena in Budapest to be used for fans. However, UEFA clarified that other matches including the National League games and club competition qualifiers will continue to take place without spectators. 

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It is unclear if only local fans will be allowed for the matches. 

“While it has been important to show that football can carry on in difficult times, without fans, the game has lost something of its character. We hope to use the UEFA Super Cup in Budapest as a pilot that will begin to see the return of fans to our matches,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

ISL Updates

Indian Super League club, ATK-Mohun Bagan announced the signing of Manvir Singh in a three-year deal-- till 2023. 

Welcoming the Indian striker, ATK-Mohun Bagan tweeted “2018 Indian Super Cup Champion @manvir_singh07 is our newest recruit! The National Team striker will represent ATK Mohun Bagan FC for the next three years!”

Manvir also expressed his happiness in a tweet saying he is happy to announce ATK-Mohun Bagan as his new club for ISL. 

Manvir, an India international was contracted with FC Goa till last season and was struggling for regular game time at the club.

There were changes at the helm for NorthEast United FC, who signed Gerard Nus as their head coach. The 25-year-old comes in place of Robert Jarni as the coach who left the club after poor results midway last season. Assistant coach Khalid Jamil was the acting manager of the club till the season ended and will now work as the assistant coach.

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