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Premier League Clubs Must Back Neutral Venues, Says LMA Chief; Bayern Munich Agree to Sign Leroy Sane and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Premier League clubs must back neutral venues for restart, says League Managers Association (LMA) chief | Bayern Munich agree to sign Leroy Sane on five-year deal | Inter postpone resumption of training | EFL club doctors differ on restart plans | Spanish players return to training camps, get tested.
Premier League project restart to happen in neutral venues

The clubs were informed via Premier League conference call earlier this month that the games will only be continued at neutral venues post restart (Pic: Twitter,

The League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive, Richard Bevan, said the Premier League could get cancelled if the clubs disagree to play the remaining 92 fixtures at neutral venues. 

The discussion to resume games has been ongoing after the clubs were informed via Premier League conference call earlier this month that the games will only be continued at neutral venues approved from a health and safety point of view.

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In a conversation with BBC Radio 4, after being asked if clubs voting against playing at the neutral venues would cause the cancellation of this season, Richard Bevan said, “Yes, I think that probably is correct.”

“The government, if they haven’t already, will be making it clear that home matches with densely populated stadia, really puts into question whether social distancing rules can be adhered to,” Bevan said. 

Meanwhile, Aston Villa chief executive, Christian Purslow, is against the Premier League’s plan to play in neutral venues. Purslow has insisted that taking away home advantage would punish clubs such as Villa. "Personally I'm against it," he said on Talksport, citing his apprehension of the club being relegated because of playing at neutral venues.

 "We're a club that prides itself on home form. Two-thirds of our wins this season have come at home,” he said. Aston Villa are the third club after Brighton and West Ham United to oppose completing the games at neutral venues. All three clubs are in the bottom half of the table, occupying three of the final five slots.

Bayern Agrees Sane Deal

Leroy Sane to join Bayern

Leroy Sane is Munich bound as per reports.

Reports suggest Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have agreed a transfer with Manchester City winger Leroy Sane on a five-year deal. Sport Bild claimed Sane has agreed terms with Bayern, with transfer fees yet to be negotiated. 

According to the report, Bayern’s director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic and board member Oliver Kahn are willing to pay City 40 million Euros ($43 million), which is half of the 24-year-old’s estimated value. 

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Sane joined Manchester City from Schalke in 2016 and is under contract until 2021. He was linked with Barcelona last summer, with the club valuing him at €107m, before suffering an injury. The deal fell through.

Sport Bild has claimed that there are few factors that might help Bayern to sign Sane at a lower fee, chief among them the fact that he was sidelined for most of the season. There is also a possibility that Bayern could succeed in signing him for a slashed price because of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic, the suspensions of leagues across Europe and the uncertainty may cripple the football economy and therefore affect the transfer market.

Inter Postpone Training

Inter Milan postponed training as not everyone on the team has been tested for Covid-19. Most Serie A clubs are set to restart their training this week under strict guidelines. Inter’s practice was scheduled for Wednesday. Their training centre remains shut and is expected to reopen by the end of the week.

Inter’s team doctor was one of three Serie A physicians who got hospitalised due to coronavirus. 

Torino, meanwhile, announced that a player tested positive for Covid-19 after a first run of medical screening was carried out on the team on their return to training. The club has not named the player but says he is asymptomatic and has been placed in quarantine. Many Italian League clubs hope to start full team training by May 18. 

EFL Doctors Differ on Restart Plans

A leading medic has conceded that doctors of EFL clubs are divided over a resumption of games, fearful of the fact that smaller clubs might struggle to follow physical distancing guidelines and testing requirements.

Queens Park Rangers’ Head of Medical, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad has said that there have been ‘varying opinions’ among his colleagues in the Football League regarding completing this season. 

"I don't think that will change because it is quite hard for all of us at the moment," Dr Ahmad told BBC Sport. He explained that the Premier League has been building up a medical protocol for clubs returning to training and that the EFL could  ‘adapt that’. He exercised caution though insisting that implementing them could take several months.

"Sometimes you think it is best to wait a bit, just to let things settle down, and then start talking about football,” Ahmad said. “But then you do know and hear about the general pressures with regards to the economics behind it."

Spanish Players Return to Training

Footballers resume training in Spain

(Representative image): Spain footballers resume training

Many Spanish players returned to their training camps on Wednesday for the first time after the country entered  a strict lockdown almost two months ago. 

Players at Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid are preparing for a return to training this week. All of them are expected to go through a coronavirus test, and after clearing the test they can resume practice.

Many Barca players including Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic were seen wearing a mask. Coaches also went to training camps and were tested. Overall, the players were not present at the club facilities for a duration less than 30 minutes. 

There are 11 rounds of matches remaining in La Liga, with Barcelona top of the table, two points clear of Real Madrid.

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