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Policing Roadblock for Project Restart; Paulo Dybala Tests Positive For Coronavirus for the Fourth Time and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Police chiefs warns of venue safety ahead of Premier League restart | Paulo Dybala tests positive for coronavirus for the fourth time in a row | Standard Liege ask Fellaini for financial help | SPFL Chairman denies wrongdoing over season ending vote | Police files reveal Blatter’s mismanagement of 2005 FIFA TV deal.
Premier League Project Restart policing issues

The Premier League told its clubs only "approved venues" will be used, raising the possibility of matches being played at neutral grounds (Pic: Bloomberg).

Playing all remaining Premier League and EFL fixtures at their original venues would present challenges to the emergency services, the Mark Roberts, the UK’s national lead for football policing said in an interview with the BBC. He insisted that other options needed to be looked at to play the 92 remaining fixtures in the Premier League, and 341 remaining across the Championship and League One and Two.

The Premier League told its clubs only "approved venues" will be used, raising the possibility of matches being played at neutral grounds. Further details will be provided to clubs at a meeting on May 1.

“Playing all those fixtures [in the original venues] would present challenges," said Roberts. "That's an awful lot of people moving around the country. I think we all need to look at options about what games absolutely need to be played.”

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“One of the things that the Premier League and the Football League are acutely aware of is that clubs would have to get the message out that if matches are taking place they need the continued buy-in of supporters and the public,” Roberts added.

Plans to resume the Premier League season stepped up this week in what has been labelled 'Project Restart', with Arsenal, Brighton and West Ham opening their training grounds to players for individual work on Monday.

The Premier League is hopeful of a potential June 8 restart and finishing at the end of July to fit in with UEFA’s European competition plans. This would require full training to begin by 18 May.

Dybala Covid-19 Test Result 

Paulo Dybala of Juventus and Covid-19 tests

Paulo Dybala of Juventus

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus four weeks after first being confirmed to have contracted Covid-19.

Dybala was one of the first Serie A players to contract the virus, along with Juventus teammates Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi. The Argentina attacker, confirmed on March 21 that both he and his girlfriend, Oriana Sabatini, had tested positive for coronavirus. His teammates fully recovered from Covid-19 earlier this month, but, according to reports, Dybala has continued to receive positive tests.

Also Read | Why India Lost Boxing World Championship Hosting Rights

While there is no confirmation as to when these tests took place, the reports have emerged shortly after Italian clubs were told they can return to training next month.

The ongoing has wreaked havoc across the globe with nearly 2,20,000 deaths, with Italy the second-worst affected European country after Spain.

Standard Liege ask Fellaini for help

Marouane Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini started his career at Standard Liege before shifting to Premier League and clubs such as Manchester United.

Standard Liege have asked their former player and Belgian international Marouane Fellaini to invest money and help ensure the survival of the club as they face being relegated to the amateur ranks. Fellaini, who began his career at the Belgian club before moving to the Premier League and now China, is being asked to follow the footsteps of former teammate Axel Witsel who has joined a group of investors seeking to buy the club’s stadium and then rent it back to them, thereby raising the cash they need to stay afloat.

Witsel has put $1.63 million into the project, reports claimed. Standard rescinded their professional licence on April 8 after the Belgian football association found they had not paid premiums owed to players.

Standard, who finished third behind Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europa League group this season, have appealed the decision and the club said they were confident they would prove their financial viability at its hearing on May 5.

SPFL Chairman Denies Wrongdoing

Dundee were not offered any "sweetener" to change their vote over ending the lower-league season, insists SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan. MacLennan also said ‘care should be taken to consider’ Rangers' motives after they succeeded in calling an extraordinary general meeting to ask clubs for an investigation into the league's handling of the ballot.

A league-commissioned probe surrounding Dundee's vote found no evidence of improper behaviour, but was dismissed by Rangers as "alarmingly failing to examine wider fundamental issues".

After Dundee reversed their no vote, the lower leagues were called off, giving the SPFL the power to end the Premiership early on the same points-per-game basis. In the statement MacLennan also repeated the SPFL's warning from Tuesday about the cost -- time and finance -- of holding an investigation, and called it ‘wholly unnecessary, inappropriate and contrary to the interests of the company’.

He also criticised Rangers for not releasing the evidence of wrongdoing that is ‘said to be causing that club so much apparent concern’.

Police Files Reveal Blatter’s Mismanagement

Sepp Blatter FIFA corruption investigations

Former FIFA head Sepp Blatter

Swiss investigators have concluded Sepp Blatter knew that a World Cup broadcasting contract was breached illegally and that it would cost FIFA millions of dollars, according to a federal police file obtained by The Associated Press.

Investigation reports sent to prosecutors in December and January showed FIFA wrote off a $3.8 million debt from a Caribbean TV deal signed in 2005 by Blatter (FIFA president at the time) and long-time vice president Jack Warner. The deal was later alleged to have been illegally mismanaged by Blatter.

“Blatter acted … more in the interests of Warner than in the interests of FIFA,” concluded one investigation file seen by the AP. The office of Switzerland’s attorney general, however, decided in March it would drop a criminal proceeding from 2015 against Blatter for the Caribbean deal. No reason was stated.

Swiss federal police believed Blatter knew in 2007 that Warner had breached — and would personally profit from — a Caribbean rights deal for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups that was sold to a Jamaica-based broadcaster.

Blatter faces a second criminal proceeding over a $2 million payment he authorized in 2011 to former UEFA president Michel Platini. That payment was revealed by Swiss authorities in September 2015 and led to both men being suspended and then banned from football.

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