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UEFA Boss Unperturbed Over State-Linked Investments in Clubs; AFC Champions League to Use VAR from Quarterfinals and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): UEFA boss Ceferin relaxed about state-linked investments in clubs | VAR to be used in AFC Champions League from quarterfinal stage | Paris police attacked, 158 arrested after PSG defeat | Swiss parliament lifts immunity of Attorney General Michael Lauber | Stadium named after Bhaichung Bhutia to be inaugurated after the pandemic is under control.
European club ownership and the investment from state-linked funds.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the continental body is only concerned about clubs following financial regulations, and investment into clubs can come in from sovereign wealth funds or state-linked money.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said that he isn’t against any kind of sovereign wealth funds and state-linked money entering club football provided the financial regulations of the games are observed.  

Earlier this year, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF) made a bid to buy Newcastle United. The offer however was withdrawn following further analysis of the takeover and director’s test, done to evaluate the suitability of the ownership group. Bellagraph Nova Group (BNG), a Singapore backed company is currently in talks with Newcastle United for the takeover. 

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“If it is within the regulation, I am not concerned,” Ceferin told Reuters "Since we distribute almost 90% of all the money back to the national associations and clubs, I would love to have even more revenue because it is good for the development of football."

"You have to know that without UEFA distributing the funds, out of 55 national associations close to 50 would be bankrupt and then children couldn’t play in those countries,” he said. "So for us it is very important that we allow investments to come, but within the regulation (and) bearing in mind Financial Fair Play and competitive balance.” 

VAR in AFC Champions League

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system for the quarter-finals of the 2020 AFC Champions League. 

Asia’s elite competition was suspended in March and is set to resume games after a five month halt — September 14 for West Asia, with games to be held in Qatar and on October 16 for East Asia.  

The quarter-finals for the West zone will kick off on September 30 with those for the East Zone side to be held on November 25. 

The technology was used for the first time in Asian football in the last eight stages of the AFC Asian Cup that took place in the United Arab Emirates last year. It was implemented at AFC under-23 in Thailand in January this year. 

158 PSG Fans Arrested

The interior minister of Paris along with the local police disclosed police were attacked after Paris Saint Germain lost against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. 158 people were arrested over suspected theft and vandalism. 

“The savagery of certain delinquents from last night: 16 members of the police forces injured, 12 shops attacked, around 15 cars vandalised,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted. 

There were clashes among police and fans earlier on Sunday and some supporters were also caught throwing projectiles at police vehicles outside the stadium of PSG, Parc des Princes. They were later dispersed by tear gas. 

The Paris police on the ground of such trouble made the decision to close down bars in areas near Parc des Princes stadium from Monday afternoon until Tuesday morning. 

Lauber’s Immunity Lifted

A Swiss parliamentary committee took the decision to lift Attorney General Michael Lauber’s immunity, making way for special prosecutor Stefan Keller to open criminal proceedings against him.

“Attorney General Michael Lauber is being suspected of abuse of office, violating confidentiality and favouritism by holding several non-recorded meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Public Prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold and other people,” the immunity committee of Switzerland’s lower house said in a statement on Monday.

Also Read | Bayern Munich Beat PSG in Champions League Final, Win 6th European Crown

“The committee points out that lifting the immunity is necessary in order to gain the greatest possible transparency about these meetings in a criminal investigation,” the committee said.

Lauber resigned in July and is set to leave his office on August 31. He is suspected of collusion with the FIFA president Gianni Infantino after a series of alleged informal meetings between the pair in 2016 and 2017, while investigating corruption in the governing body for football.

Bhutia Stadium

A stadium with floodlights and a capacity of 15,00 named after Bhaichung Bhutia will be inaugurated near his hometown when the pandemic is under control.

The stadium located in Namchi, is about 25 kilometres away from Bhutia’s birthplace in Tinkitam.

"It's our tribute to one of the best Indian footballers. Even after hanging his boots, Bhaichung Bhutia has been a role model to many and will continue to inspire footballers of India, let alone Sikkim," Sikkim Football Association president Menla Ethenpa was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"We can't repay him for what he has done for Indian football. But a stadium named after him might be a small homage towards the great footballer," he added.

The foundation of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Stadium was laid in 2010 and in the last decade has faced many roadblocks owing to financial difficulties.

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