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Premier League Chief to Face Parliamentary Committee Over Project Restart; Africa Cup of Nations 2021 Finals Could be Postponed And More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up):Premier League CEO Richard Masters to face questions from a Parliamentary Committee over the restart of games from June 17 | Africa Cup of Nations 2021 Finals in Cameroon likely to get postponed | Get addicted to football, not to drugs, says IM Vijayan | Michel Platini now a formal suspect in Swiss case | Amiens and Toulouse relegated as FFF confirms 20-club Ligue 1.
Liverpool FC crowned 2019-20 Premier League champions

The Premier League restarted after over a 100-day lockdown on June 17. Earlier this week, Liverpool FC were crowned champions of the 2019-20 season.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters will face questions from a British Parliamentary next week over Premier League’s Project Restart. The English top-flight resumed games on June 17 without spectators after a 100-day halt due to lockdown. Liverpool were crowned champions on June 25. 

The Digital, Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) committee will also demand transparency over the financial impact in football within the Premier League, lower leagues and also in the women's game.

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"The restart of football has taken place more quickly than most other sectors, with Premier League games beginning again last week," the DCMS said in a statement on Friday.

"MPs will question Masters... on the rationale for this, the challenges restarting has presented as well as exploring connected issues including football finances, the new coronavirus testing regime, and safety,” added the statement.  "The committee will also take evidence on the implications for lower league clubs and the women's game."

Masters, in a letter to British Lawmaker and DCMS chairman Julian Knight, explained that the Premier League was in the risk of losing over a billion pounds ($1.24 billion) if the competition was curtailed.

Africa Cup of Nations 2021

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) could postpone the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for January next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The possibility of the Cup of Nations being held in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6 seems very bleak and the qualifying is still far from complete. 

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The executive committee of CAF has decided to meet via online conference next week to determine the fate of the Cup of Nations along with a possible process for concluding the two continental club competitions due this year. 

FIFA’s  decision on the cancellation of the September window for the national team matches in all the regions excluding Europe and South America has left the CAF with lesser dates to try and complete the qualifying campaign and finalise the field for the 24-team tournament.

With four rounds of qualifiers yet to be played, although they could still be scheduled for October and November would mean the postponement of the start of the group phase of 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

‘Get addicted to football, not Drugs’

Former India footballer IM Vijayan, on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, urged the youngsters to "get addicted to football, not to drugs". 

"It helps you maintain a biological clock. You have a healthy appetite, maintain an 8-hour sleep cycle which is important to stay fit. Get addicted to football, not drugs," Vijayan said in a release from the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"Drugs can never be a solution, rather it's a problem rooted deeper. It destroys the lives of everyone around the addicted person. The after-effects are devastating," said Vijayan, who has been recently recommended by AIFF for Padma Shri. 

Former skipper Renedy Singh and women’s team stalwart Bembem Devi also shared positive messages. 

"Don't jump into the black hole. Depression, unemployment, poverty, competition in professional life, family tragedy - we have all been hit by something or the other. Under such circumstances people turn to drugs," Renedy said."Sports, let alone football, provide you with so much positivity and energy which helps you get over this negativity and obstacle. It helps you get healthier physically as well as psychologically."

Bembem Devi said: "Parents provide pocket money to their wards for food, conveyance but they use them for drugs. Initially, parents stay unaware of it and when they come to know, the kids have already fallen prey to it.

"I have seen youngsters getting spoilt which in the process have ruined the entire family. The effects are devastating. But the silver lining is that many showing their concern and many organisations are coming forward to help who have been affected,” she added.

Platini a New suspect in Swiss Case

Michel Platini has been placed under investigation in Switzerland for a $2 million payment he received from FIFA in 2011.

Swiss federal prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into the then FIFA president, Sepp Blatter’s role in the payment that was made to Platini.

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Platini, who was the president of UEFA, is suspected of being an accomplice to criminal mismanagement, misappropriation and forgery, the document states.

The former France national team captain submitted invoices to FIFA in January 2011 for an uncontracted salary when he was working as the presidential adviser in Blatter’s first term, from 1998-2002. He was paid the following month.

Five different courts and tribunals — including the FIFA ethics committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the European Court of Human Rights — have ruled against Platini since the prosecutor opened the case in September 2015.

Platini and Blatter both deny wrongdoing and have not been.

A new prosecutor, Thomas Hildbrand, was appointed to lead some investigations last year in the wider Swiss probe of corruption allegations in international football that came to light in 2014.

Hildbrand also extended criminal proceedings against Blatter this month for suspected criminal mismanagement so that they could include a $1 million loan FIFA made to the Trinidad and Tobago football federation in 2010.

Ligue 1 Confirms 20 Clubs Next Season

The next Ligue 1 season is going to have 20 clubs, the French football federation (FFF) confirmed on Friday as Amiens and Toulouse’s hopes to stay in the top flight were buried by the football body.

Both clubs were relegated when the season was put on halt due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, the Stade council, France’s highest administrative court, had suspended their relegations earlier this month, demanding the French league to come up with a new format for 2020-21.

However, French league clubs voted to maintain Ligue 1 at 20 clubs next season. The French federation subsequently said that the 2020-2024 convention between the FFF and the Ligue 1 is to be played with 18 to 20 clubs only, had been approved.

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