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TV Rights Corruption Trial Begins For Ex-FIFA Official and BeIN Sports Chairman; Copa Libertadores Kicks Off and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and BeIN sports chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi go on trial over corruption in allotment TV rights | Copa Libertadores returns but not all clubs are happy | Crowded Marseille celebrations condemned by French minister | Newcastle United take legal action against Premier League over blocked Saudi buyout | Frank Lampard makes light of Jürgen Klopp's criticism of Chelsea FC's spending.
Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke

Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke arrives at the Federal Criminal Court in Switzerland for the FIFA TV rights corruption hearing.

The trial for former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and the chairman of Qatar-based media group BeIN Sports, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, over procurement of television rights for the World Cup and Confederations Cup began on September 14 in Switzerland. 

The Trial is expected to end by September 25 and a verdict on the case is likely to be delivered by three federal judges by the end of October.

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Valcke, who has been banned by the ethics committee of FIFA over 10 years of ethics violation, has been accused of accepting bribe, aggravating criminal mismanagement and forging documents. 

Al-Khelaifi, on the other hand, has been charged with abetting Valcke to aggravated criminal mismanagement. The 46-year old businessman, who is also the president of Paris Saint Germain, along with Valcke, have denied the allegations. The lawyers of Al-Khelaifi have stated that the case, in majority, does not even apply to his client. 

Copa Libertadores Returns

South America’s premier club competition, Copa Libertadores, is set to begin this week following a six month halt. However, the resumption of games have attracted a lot of criticism and dismay as sports in the region have not started yet. 

32 teams from across 10 countries will participate in the tournament. The opening round matches are slotted from September 15-17. 

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Due to the time gap between the restarting of the domestic games in different nations some of the teams are unhappy and are condemning the resumption.

“Argentine teams have been called upon to compete at a disadvantage and they are not ready for it,” said Nicolas Russo, the president of Lanus and a director of the Argentine Football Association.

Meanwhile, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is rejoicing the resumption of the league along with its second-tier competition, Copa Sudamericana, which is set to resume from October 27.

Marseille Celebration Condemned

The interior minister of France, Gerald Darmanin, \criticised the fans of Olympique Marseille for gathering on the street to celebrate the victory of the club over Paris Saint-Germain. 

“One can only condemn the images that we are seeing,” Darmanin told LCI television, After he was shown TV footage of a huge number of Marseille fans partying after the victory violating social distancing protocols. Many were out and about without wearing masks.

The celebration took place at Marseille’s Vieux Port on Sunday night following the 1-0 win over PSG. 

The Prime Minister of France, Jean Castex, had highlighted Marseille and Bordeaux last week for being among the worst affected cities by the re-emergence of coronavirus cases in the country.  Hospitals in Marseille are under crisis due to surging cases. 

Newcastle to Take Legal Action 

Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner, asked two of the best QCs to represent the club in the ongoing dispute with Premier League with regards to the rejection of the Saudi-led takeover.

Last week, Ashley blamed Premier League boss Richard Masters of not acting appropriately in the process that led to the Public Investment Fund and its partners-- Reuben brothers and Amanda Staveley taking back their £300m offer.

QCs Shaheed Fatima and Nick De Marco of Blackstone Chambers released a statement confirming the same.

It read: “Shaheed Fatima QC and Nick De Marco QC are acting for Newcastle United FC and Mike Ashley (instructed by Dentons) in a dispute with the Premier League about its rejection of a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) based on its Owners and Directors Test.”

Lampard Amused by Klopp

Frank Lampard said he is amused by Jürgen Klopp’s criticism of the money Chelsea have spent on getting players. He pointed out that Liverpool made expensive signings last season in order to win the title.

This season Liverpool have made just one signing and bought Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos for £11.7m. Klopp said the Premier League champions are not the same as other clubs since they are “not owned by countries or an oligarch”. 

Lampard brushed off the comment and defended Chelsea’s move after their transfer ban.

“I found it slightly amusing because when you talk about the owners of clubs, I don’t think it matters what line of business they come from,” Chelsea’s manager said. 

“We are talking about some very rich owners in the Premier League. With Liverpool’s story, I referenced it a lot last year. They’ve managed to get recruitment right to a really high level. The reality is – other than maybe Leicester – most clubs that win the league in the modern day have recruited at quite a high level money-wise.

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