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Premier League Confirms First Three Fixtures; Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas Seeks Court Ruling To Resume Ligue 1 and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Premier League confirms the first three rounds of post-pandemic fixtures | Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas seeks court ruling to resume Ligue 1 | Asia to restart 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying in October | Chelsea crowned Women's Super League winners in England | Dortmund's Sancho, Akanji fined for getting haircuts without face masks.
Premier League restart opening fixtures announced

The remaining 92 Premier League matches will be played without spectators behind closed doors but there have been underlying fears of club supporters gathering around the stadiums. 

The Premier League season announced its first three official fixtures on June 5 after the enforced three months hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Scheduled to restart on June 17 the first two matches will be between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, followed by Manchester City and Arsenal. 

Liverpool is set to play against Everton on June 21. The Merseyside derby will take place at Goodison Park, less than a mile from Liverpool’s home Anfield, but the venue has not yet been confirmed by the Premier League.

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Liverpool could potentially win the title after 30 years on that day. Jürgen Klopp's team is six points away from sealing the title. Their second game post resumption, against Crystal Palace will be the one which could definitely seal it. Having ignored police advice to play it at a neutral venue the game is also set to be played at Anfield.

The safety advisory group of the Liverpool City Council will meet next week to make a decision if games can be played at Goodison instead or moved to a neutral venue. 

The remaining 92 Premier League matches will be played without spectators behind closed doors but there have been underlying fears of club supporters gathering around the stadiums. 

Lyon Seeks Court Ruling to Resume Ligue 1

Olympique Lyonnais club president Jean-Michel Aulas asked the Council of State, the highest court in France to overrule the decision to cancel the French League season. 

"It was absurd to call the league off while other leagues reserved the right not to. Germany is already playing again, Spain will next week," Aulas fumed at the hearing. "It's the league which took the decision and can take the decision to resume... I'm shocked that we're here debating whether we can play or not.”

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The Premier League, Serie A and La Liga are set to resume this month after the Bundesliga restarted their games last month and Aulas thinks it is not too late for France either. 

"We can train for three or four weeks and finish the league by the end of August," he said. "Lyon is resuming training on 8 June with a health protocol which has been approved."

Amiens SC and Toulouse FC were also present at the court ruling in an attempt to overturn their relegation but not to demand for a league restart. 

Asian World Cup Qualifying

The Asian qualifiers for the World Cup will resume in October after the pandemic halted the games scheduled for March and June. 

After discussions with FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided to schedule two dates in October and two in November for the second round of qualifiers. 

AFC said match day 7 and 8 are scheduled for October while match day 9 and 20 are set to take place in November so that the joint qualifications are completed by the end of this year. 

“The AFC will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all teams, officials, fans and stakeholders as well as Government travel and medical restrictions and will notify all parties should there be a need to reassess the match schedules due to the ever-evolving impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the confederation said in a statement.

Twelve teams that will advance to further group stages next year. Four teams will advance directly to the World Cup in Qatar and the fifth will enter an international playoff round.

Chelsea Champions 

The English Football Association awarded Chelsea the Women’s Super League title by  applying a points per game system after the season ended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool meanwhile have been relegated to the Women’s Championship finishing at the bottom of the table while Aston Villa will be promoted to the 12 team top-flight.

“The FA Board has reached a majority decision to decide the 2019-20 FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship on a basic point-per-game basis, with promotion and relegation determined on sporting merit,” the FA said in a statement.

“As a result, the FA Board has today confirmed the decision to award the 2019-20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League title to Chelsea FC Women, and to award the 2019-20 FA Women’s Championship title to Aston Villa Women FC,” it added.

Chelsea was second in the table when football was suspended however after playing one game less than Manchester City they edged to the top spot and claimed their third WSL title. 

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears from every player, at every club, has gone into this season and it is important we recognise that and celebrate the fact we have ended a highly competitive season as champions,” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said. 

Sancho, Akanji Fined

The German Football League (DFL) fined Borussia Dortmund players Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji for visiting the hairdressers without wearing their masks this week. 

The DFL has stated that both players breached health guidelines given by Bundesliga clubs. Around six Dortmund players including rising star Sancho and Akanji got their haircut at the hairdresser who then later asked some of them to take some pictures with him. 

“It is clear that pro players also need to get their haircut. But that has to happen in line with the medical and hygiene concept,” the DFL said in a statement. “The fines are not against the club which is not seen as having a responsibility in this case.”

Bundesliga matches are being played behind closed doors following strict health protocols during the training and the games. With only five matches left in the season the league has targeted the end of the month to finish the season. 

Last week Sancho attracted attention after he revealed an undershirt that read ‘justice for George Floyd’, who was killed in Minneapolis after a white US police officer knelt on his neck. Sancho’s actions were one of several displayed by multiple athletes across the globe who have come together to call out systemic racism across the world. 

After being shown a yellow card for taking his shirt off Sancho faced the possibility of more sanctions but the German Football Association declared players were free to express their views and support for protests around the cause. 

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