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COVID-19 test for FIFA Club World Cup tickets

Fans will have to return a negative COVID-19 test result in order to receive a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 as part of strict precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

Fans will have to return a negative COVID-19 test result in order to receive a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 as part of strict precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

The announcements of virus measures were made by tournament organisers at a media briefing in Doha on Saturday.

“Fans will have to undergo rapid PCR or antigen tests up to 72 hours before each match. If it comes out negative they are allowed to receive their ticket,” Sport affairs adviser to Qatar’s health ministry, Abdulwahab Al Musleh said.

Fans from overseas will also be unable to attend the Club World Cup while public events such as fan zones will not occur.

Crowds will be limited to 30 percent capacity at the grounds for the tournament – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and Education City Stadium. At full capacity both stadiums can host up to 40,000 people.

Use of Qatar’s contract tracing app alongside, social distancing, mask wearing and sanitiser will be mandatory for spectators at the tournament.

FIFA said that it would work with the authorities in Qatar to provide “the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition”.

After originally being scheduled to be played in December 2020 the FIFA Club World Cup was postponed to February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament will be played between February 4 and 11 and features six teams – Al-Duhail SC (Qatar), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), FC Bayern Munich (Germany), Ulsan Hyundai FC (South Korea), Tigres UANL (Mexico) and the Copa Libertadores (South America) champions will compete in the World Cup.

Auckland City were due to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup but withdrew as a result of COVID-19 quarantine requirements put in place by New Zealand authorities.

The FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 is also set to be the first international competition to test concussion substitutes.

“FIFA will implement a protocol in which each team will be permitted to use a maximum of one concussion substitute in a match; this substitution will be able to be made regardless of the number of substitutes already used,” FIFA said in a statement.

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

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