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Sky Enjoys Ratings Boost With Premier League Return, UEFA Recommends Fewer Heading Drills in Youth Football And More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Sky enjoys ratings boost with Premier League restart | UEFA recommends fewer heading drills In youth football | India get tough draw in AFC U-16 Championships| Rooney Rule: PFA calls for 'loophole' in EFL appointments to be closed | Manchester City defender Eric Garcia out of hospital, being monitored.
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United Premier League match

Action from the Aston Villa vs Sheffield United Premier League match which saw Sky experience a 43% percent surge in audience with 2.7 million (2.4 million average).

Broadcasters Sky Sports revealed that Premier League restart has triggered a massive increase in the number of viewers. Manchester City’s 3-0 win against Arsenal attracted a whopping 3.4 million viewers, increasing the season’s audience by 94 percent. 

With an average of  3.1 million viewers as the audience of the game, it has been close to the most watched match on Sky Sports this season. The top game was the Manchester United and Liverpool clash in October that attracted 3.6 million viewers. 

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Sky stated that the opening match of restart between Aston Villa and Sheffield United showed a 43% percent surge in audience with 2.7 million (2.4 million average). 

La Liga reported a rise of 48% in international viewing figures of Spanish football. A study citing analytics firm Nielsen Sports of the first round of matches, showed that the biggest audience bounce came from Africa where -- a 73 percent increase in viewers. 

Meanwhile, the Premier League announced one positive coronavirus case from the latest round of Covid-19 testing of players and staff this week. However, the league did not reveal the club or the name of the individual who tested positive.

"The Premier League can today confirm that on Monday 15 June and Tuesday 16 June, 1,541 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, one person has tested positive," the league said in a statement.

UEFA Recommends Fewer Heading Drills

UEFA has suggested heading drills should be reduced in youth football along with the introduction of neck strengthening exercises to help protect the health of the young players. 

These recommendations were approved by the UEFA following studies that it authorised at University of Saarland in Germany and Hampden Sports Clinic in Scotland. The guidelines have been incorporated in its heading guidelines for young footballers. 

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UEFA stated that the aim of the guideline was to "limit the header burden in youth football to what is deemed necessary for the promotion of the game".

With increasing concerns over the possible long term effects of heading, the English, Scottish and Northern Irish Football Associations have already banned heading in training sessions for under-12 players. A study undertaken by Glasgow University and supported by Scottish FA last year found that former professional footballers were at more risk of dementia than the general population. 

The UEFA also revealed that they are relaxing Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules to allow struggling clubs to balance the accounts to help them recover from the three-month stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The executive committee decided that the assessment of the club accounts for the 2020 financial year will be postponed for one year and would be assessed together with the accounts for 2021. However, the clubs have to make sure they do not owe money for transfers, players’ wages or social security and tax bills. 

India Get Tough Draw

India landed at Group C against South Korea, Australia and Uzbekistan in the official draw of the AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.

India qualified as table toppers from Group B for the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship final in September 2019. They managed to pick up seven points from three matches with two wins and a draw to finish above Bahrain, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the qualifiers held in Uzbekistan. India had drawn against Uzbekistan 1-1 during the tournament.

South Korea performed brilliantly in the qualification stage and won all the matches without conceding a single goal in three matches. Australia also managed victory in all the matches and conceded just two goals. 

India have qualified for the championships nine times, having done it earlier during 1990, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2018 editions of the competition. The top four teams of AFC U-16 Championships finals qualify for the U-17 World Cup as representatives of Asia. 

PFA Wants Loophole in EFL Sorted

The Professional Footballers' Association wants a "loophole" in EFL managerial appointments to be taken care of before the start of the next season to ensure diversity.

The union also asked for a "substantive" diverse representation at board level across all of football's governing bodies.

In 2019, the English Football League adopted a mandatory recruitment code which was in line with the NFL's Rooney Rule.

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If the numbers are looked at, there are six black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) managers across the 91 clubs in the Premier League and EFL.

The Rooney Rule means clubs are supposed to interview at least one BAME candidate for a managerial post.

But EFL clubs are only supposed to follow this when they are in the process of short-listing and more than one candidate is interviewed, not when clubs are trying to get specific managers on board.

With 70% of the current EFL managers appointed during the season, when a full recruitment process is not going to take place, the PFA's equalities coach Iffy Onuora said this means clubs are likely to "miss the opportunity to use the rule as it is intended".

Garcia Out of Hospital

Manchester City defender Eric Garcia was released from the hospital after he got hurt in a collision with his own goalkeeper during the team’s 3-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League.

Garcia was hit hard and was sent to the ground because of Ederson Moraes, as the goalkeeper came out of the penalty area to clear the ball in the 80th minute of Wednesday’s game at Etihad Stadium.

The young Spanish defender was carried off on a stretcher after being attended by the medical staff for about 10 mins. City players appeared concerned — left back Benjamin Mendy was unable to look at the sight, and manager Pep Guardiola said  he was a “little bit concerned.”

City only said he “will be monitored in the coming days ahead of a return to training and competitive action.”

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