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Australian referee Jarred Gillett to officiate in Premier League

32 year old Australian referee Jarred Gillett is set to officiate in a Premier League fixture this upcoming weekend.

Gillett will be the lead Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the clash between Watford and West Ham United at Vicarage Road.

This is a big step up for Gillett, but one that is richly deserved.

Gillett is very familiar with the technology, having used it since 2017 in A-League fixtures.

With the A-League being the first domestic football league to utilise the VAR in that same year, Gillett is one of the most experienced users of the controversial technology.

Gillett has also officiated in two matches in England’s second division this season. He is to officiate another one at the weekend between recently relegated Premier League sides Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City, as well as his top flight duties.

It is a great opportunity for Gillett, but some may feel he is entering the lion’s den.

VAR has been heavily criticised ever since it was brought into the Premier League, with many players and coaches feeling that it hinders the sport in various ways.

Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Nuno Espirito Santo has gone on record saying that VAR is taking the spirit of the game away from fans.

Most recently, Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus saw his winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur disallowed by VAR following a handball from City defender Aymeric Laporte.

The contact was very minor and definitely not deliberate, with many feeling that the handball was not enough to disallow the goal.

The City talisman then confronted the referees post match, expressing his and inadvertently many members of the public’s frustrations with the decision.

We wish Jarred all the best in his Premier League debut this weekend.

FIFA opens World Cup video archive during COVID-19

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has opened up a men’s and women’s World Cup video archive featuring full matches due to the mass suspension of domestic and international games caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aim is to bring football home with people able to have their say upon the release of a new video archive that will help get people through this unfolding crisis.

The #WorldCupAtHome campaign will see more than 30 past matches made available and premiered from 21st March via FIFA’s official website and YouTube channel, as well as its Weibo channel in China.

The soccer body have based the campaign around allowing fans to vote on games they want to see via social media. Additional engagement opportunities will also allow viewers to interact with live chat on YouTube and vote for a favourite moment of the match.

FIFA will additionally make available a catalogue of its in-house documentary features and interviews with some of soccer’s biggest names.

Due to the isolation process that people will continue to experience likely being over the next few months, the archive is designed to be an immersive experience that gives fans the chance to relive their favourite and most memorable moments and gaining the best experience possible from their homes.

FIFA has already seen its opening votes, with Spain vs Netherlands edging Brazil vs Colombia and Germany vs Argentina in a 2014 World Cup vote, while in the France 2019 Women’s World Cup poll, the semi-final between England and USA prevailed over France vs USA.

As fans all around the world are craving something to enjoy in these unprecedented times, FIFA has put their foot forward to unite fans in a time of uncertainty – providing us with this access to games in tricky times for us all.

This voting process will take place over the next six weeks, helping fill a void left by the growing number of competitions to suspend their seasons.

Until regular football activities are resumed, we’ll be able to take the time to reflect on past achievements and milestones all around the world and celebrate the game that is.

Football West launches FIFA 20 E-Series Club Cup

Football West has announced it will launch its first virtual cup competition, with clubs from around the state competing.

The Football West FIFA 20 E-Series Club Cup will be a knockout competition which will determine Western Australia’s virtual champions.

The news comes after all grassroots football in Australia was suspended until April 14.

The first-round draw for the gaming tournament will be conducted next week, with registrations closing at 5pm today.

There will be a men’s, women’s and junior competition, with both a PS4 and XBOX division.

Football West’s Head of Member Services, Alex Novatsis, said he hoped the event would lift the spirits of the WA football community amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With all grassroots football postponed until 14 April because of the corona virus outbreak, we thought people would be looking for a bit of light relief,” he said.

Mr Novatsis urged players to sign up as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.

“E-sports have exploded over the past few years and FIFA 20 has 10 million players worldwide, so we’re expecting it to be very popular.

“Anyone who plays football thinks they’re good at FIFA. Now we’ll see who can back it up!”

2021 FIFA Club World Cup to move due to rescheduled Euro 2020

The inaugural 24-team FIFA Club World Cup originally for next year is set to move to accommodate the rescheduled UEFA 2020 European Championship and CONMEBOL 2020 Copa America national team competitions.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino arranged a conference call taking place on Wednesday where he will recommend that the global governing body’s Bureau of the Council accept the postponement of the two continental tournaments and move the expanded 2021 Club World Cup.

The expanded club tournament was meant to take place across eight cities in China from 17th June to 4th July next year in the calendar slot traditionally reserved for the FIFA Confederations Cup national team tournament.

However, UEFA and CONMEBOL, the respective continental confederations for Europe and South America, announced on Tuesday that their flagship national team tournaments would be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, that created a clash with the 2021 Club World Cup.

FIFA will now wait until ‘there is more clarity on the situation’ to decide new dates for the Club World Cup, which Infantino said could take place later in 2021, in 2022 or even 2023.

Infantino, 49, also plans to arrange discussions with the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the national soccer body, and the Chinese government to ‘minimise any negative impact’ of a postponement.

In addition, FIFA will recommend that the ruling council make a AU$17.5 million to the World Health Organisation Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, while Infantino says the Zurich-based governing body will also discuss establishing a Global Football Assistance Fund to ‘help members of the football community affected by this crisis’.

‘The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed,’ Infantino said in a statement.

‘Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time.

‘Particularly in football, finding appropriate and fair solutions at global level is imperative. This requires unity, solidarity and a shared sense of responsibility and we need to think of all those around the world potentially impacted by our decisions.

‘Finally, it goes without saying that FIFA will keep in regular contact with all members of the football community during this difficult period.

‘As I stated yesterday, challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future. And this is what FIFA is aiming to do here.’

Infantino’s plans to push ahead with an expanded Club World Cup have previously created tension between FIFA and UEFA given the threat the reimagined tournament could impact the value of the UEFA Champions League.

However, those differences appear to have been put to one side as the global soccer industry attempts to implement a unified response to the coronavirus outbreak.

UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020, along with the Copa America due to begin on 12th June, was taken to free up more time for Europe’s domestic soccer leagues to complete their current seasons, the majority of which have now been put on hold.

The move could yet have implications for the UEFA 2021 Women’s European Championship, which is due to get underway on 7th July next year, four days before the new date for the final of the men’s competition.

UEFA is yet to confirm the fate of the tournament, although the governing body’s president Aleksander Čeferin told the Associated Press that postponing the tournament until 2022 is “one of the possibilities” and “one of the most likely to happen”.

“We are thinking of postponing this Women’s Euro as well and Under-21 championship as well,” he said.

“We will have to postpone both because I don’t think that we should cannibalise the women’s Euro with the men’s Euro just one month before.”

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