Sweden head coach Janne Andersson trusts FIFA and UEFA to come up with appropriate plans over how to restart football following the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, FIFA proposed that teams will be allowed to use five substitutes per match due to a congested schedule when action resumes.

Teams are facing a fixture pile-up when they finally return and FIFA hopes to ease players' workloads by permitting an additional two changes during a match, or six substitutions in total if games go to extra time.

Competitions would have the option to implement the new temporary rule until the end of next season, while it would also apply to national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.

Andersson is aware tournament organisers like the world governing body and UEFA, who have postponed Euro 2020 until next year, face a challenging task.

"It is not an easy job to fit in the games and tournaments that have been postponed due to the spread of the virus," Andersson told Stats Perform when asked about the five substitutions plan.

"I trust that FIFA and UEFA will find a good way to handle this.

"I am no medical expert and I don't like to speculate. Limiting the virus and the health of people is the most important thing right now. 

"My hope is that we can start playing football as soon as possible."

Sweden qualified for Euro 2020 by finishing second to Spain in Group F, with Andersson acknowledging his team could look very different by June 2021, the revised start time.

"A year is a very long time in football," he said. "A lot of the preparations can be used in 2021 but of course both our team and the teams we are playing can look different in a year. 

"It gives a bit of time to look even closer at details in tactics and we are trying to use this extra time in the best way possible."

On the impact of a busy fixture calendar leading up to the tournament, he added: "I trust that both the players and their clubs will adjust to whatever circumstances the season will be finished in."

Andersson, who took charge of Sweden in the aftermath of Euro 2016, is currently furloughed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: "I have worked in football for over 30 years. This is the longest break I have ever taken from the game that I love. 

"I am together with my colleagues working on how we can be even better to explain how we want our players to act on the pitch and prepare ourselves for the upcoming games this fall.

"I am no medical expert but I trust the Swedish authorities know what they are doing [with their approach to the lockdown]."

A trial involving a number of leading German football officials is to finish without a verdict due to the statute of limitations expiring, leaving FIFA "deeply disappointed".

Franz Beckenbauer was one of four prominent German football figures investigated regarding allegations related to fraud, linked to payments alleged to have been made when the quartet were on the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer was not indicted due to health reasons.

Three German officials - Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach - were due to go on trial, along with former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi, who is Swiss.

The investigation centred on the use of €7million – later reduced to €6.7m – which was supposed to be used to finance a gala, but was instead, the Swiss attorney general alleged, "to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB [German Football Association]".

A DFB investigation in February 2016, attempting to explain the payments, linked Beckenbauer - who won the World Cup as a player and as a manager - with former FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam and the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who was Adidas chief.

It led to claims the money had been used to purchase votes for the 2006 World Cup, allegations that Beckenbauer strenuously denied. He did accept the use of the funds - for a "FIFA subsidy" - was a mistake.

A statement from Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court confirmed on Tuesday the case could not "be concluded with a judgement" after the statute of limitations expired due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA later insisted it will not give up on justice, with its statement reading: "FIFA is deeply disappointed that the trial related to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 will not take place because it has now become time barred.

"For its part, FIFA fully cooperated with this investigation over the years, responding to many requests made by the Office of the Attorney General and incurring significant costs and management time in doing so. The fact that the case has now ended without a result of any kind is very worrying, not only for football but also for the administration of justice in Switzerland.

"We hope that the truth around the CHF 10 million payment will one day come to light and that those having committed wrongful acts will be duly sanctioned, if not in Switzerland, then maybe somewhere else.

"For FIFA this case is certainly not over as we cannot and will not accept that a CHF 10 million payment is made from FIFA accounts without a proper reason. Even if this has happened many years ago and was symptomatic for the old FIFA, FIFA's independent ethics committee will continue to investigate on this and other similar matters.

"Furthermore, FIFA will continue to cooperate with all state law enforcement agencies, including those in Switzerland, in the hope and belief that all those responsible for causing harm to football will finally be held to account for their actions and will not be able to hide forever with their ill-gotten gains."

Criminal proceedings for alleged fraud or assistance to fraud in Switzerland cannot be initiated after 15 years have passed.

FIFA's medical chief Michel D'Hooghe believes there should be no football until the start of next season with concerns over a "second attack" of the coronavirus.

The Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns were ended on Tuesday when French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that professional football will not be able to resume before September.

The Eredivisie has also been cancelled along with the domestic season in Argentina, but they are planning to get under way again in countries such as England, Spain, Germany and Italy.

D'Hooghe is concerned that finances are being put ahead of health.

He told the Daily Telegraph said: "We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life.

"I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season.

'If they could start the season 2020-21 at the end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible.

"Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

"In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economics and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.

"If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple."

FIFA has proposed that teams will be allowed to use five substitutes per match due to a congested schedule when competitions resume.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the vast majority of leagues to a halt and the Eredivisie is among those to have been cancelled.

Teams are facing a fixture pile-up when they finally return to action and FIFA hopes to ease players' workload by permitting an additional two changes during a match, or six substitutions in total if games go to extra time.

Organisers would have the option to implement the new temporary rule until the end of next season, while it would also apply to national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.

A spokesperson for the world governing body said: "When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks.

"Safety of the players is one of FIFA's main priority then. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.

"In light of this and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser.

"In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant."

FIFA will distribute $150million to member associations over the next few days as support for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The world governing body on Friday revealed that operational funding for this year and 2019 will be paid to 211 national governing bodies worldwide.

A second instalment of operational costs for 2020 was due to be handed out in July, but FIFA will make an early payment "to help safeguard football across all member associations".

Each member association will receive $500,000, along with any other remaining funds they were due to receive. 

Full payment is only usually received if certain criteria is met, but FIFA recognised the need to carry out of a financial relief plan quickly amid the COVID-19 crisis 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is FIFA's duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs.

"This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress. This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community. 

"Together with our stakeholders, we are we assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan."

He added: "I would like to thank the chairpersons of the FIFA Development Committee, Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, and the FIFA Finance Committee, Alejandro Dominguez, for their commitment and urgent approval of these measures by their committees."

First Citizens Bank in Trinidad and Tobago has until Monday, April 27, to say whether anyone has attempted to gain control of the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). Should they fail to do so they will be brought before the High Courts of the twin-island republic.

Lawyers representing William Wallace and his executive have threatened legal action against First Citizens Bank in Port of Spain should they find that the bank has changed signatories to the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) without the required authorisation.

William Wallace, the ousted president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has written to the Dr Keith Rowley government expressing concern over its negotiations with the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee about the use of the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva as a facility to host COVID-19 patients.

Wallace and his executive are locked in a dispute with FIFA over the appointment of the normalization committee that football’s world governing body named in late March. The matter is before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

However, while he supports the use of the stadium as a holding facility, Wallace said he is the person the government should be discussing such issues with, as the normalization committee has no legal standing to do so. He also suggested the possibility of the committee profiting from the use of the stadium during a national crisis.

“I note with some concern reports in the media that the government has apparently entered into discussions with the Normalisation Committee led by Mr Robert Hadad, who was purportedly appointed by FIFA, in respect of the use of the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva,” Wallace wrote on official TTFA letterhead on Thursday.

“This Committee has no legal or other standing in Trinidad and Tobago. As you are aware, the TTFA was formed by an act of Parliament(Act 17 of 1982) and is to be governed by its Constitution. The Constitution of the TTFA places the responsibility for negotiating and entering into any contracts or agreements on the President of the TTFA, a post I have held since the 24th November 2019.”

 

Football’s world governing body FIFA is against the appointment of a single arbitrator to hear the dispute between it and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Former Trinidad and Manchester United great Dwight Yorke has sided with FIFA in its decision take over the operations of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) last month.

FIFA’s latest football rankings published this week listed the Caribbean powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago at 105th in the world, their second-lowest in history.

A Normalization Committee appointed by FIFA is charged with sorting out dire financial and administrative affairs of the TT Football Association (TTFA) but will the virus that has seen the regional giants plummet to their lowest levels all-time be tackled as well in this process?

The eight-time Caribbean Football Union (CFU) champions have now spent a 10th consecutive month outside the world’s top-100.

The last time T&T’s Soca Warriors were the top-rated Caribbean team on the FIFA Coca-Cola Rankings was October 2016. From 65th in the world three and a half years ago, they have steadily plunged to embarrassing levels, not good enough for a football programme that had long been regarded as the best in the Caribbean.

Absorbed in a political football power war in the past year that included acrimonious election campaigning and subsequent unseating of David John-Williams (DJW) as President, T&T’s football results have been ghastly.

The Coronavirus has dismantled all sporting schedules globally and maybe it’s a good thing for T&T’s football since the inactivity may have eased their fans from some more painful match results.

Former England international and 1986 World Cup defender Terry Fenwick is the new head coach, replacing Dennis Lawrence and the straight-talking ex-defender’s job is likely to be negatively impacted by the current administrative turmoil.

Indeed, there are already media reports of heated exchanges Fenwick has had with the Technical team over dissatisfaction with efforts to sort out passports for foreign-born players being targeted for T&T representation.

T&T’s football fraternity is divided over FIFA’s intervention that sidelined last November’s elected executive, whose attorneys Matthew Gayle and Dr Emir Crowne have now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in an effort to annul FIFA’s intervention.

FIFA’s track record globally clearly indicates they are powerful enough and have the right to intervene in any of its 211 affiliates’ administrative affairs if they are deemed not to be following the FIFA Statutes -- rules and regulations – that they themselves have signed to.

Opponents of the FIFA intervention in T&T reason that it was indecently done, given the fact the new executive had only been in place for three months, trying to tackle massive financial problems that were largely inherited.

The fact that serious financial problems existed when John-Williams was boss and FIFA did not intervene, begs the question why didn’t they at the time? The answer is fairly obvious. John-Williams has a good relationship with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and profited from FIFA’s support and understanding.

Days ahead of the November 24, 2019 TTFA elections, Infantino attended the glitzy opening of John-Williams’s biggest project, the “Home of Football” in Couva and he praised DJW as a leader displaying “wisdom and vision” with the project the FIFA President said represented “an investment in the future”.

Unruffled that T&T were just coming off setting all-time records for longest losing streak, winless streak and run of games without scoring, Infantino downplayed results in a SportsMax interview with George Davis, declaring firmly that when there is a heavy investment in stability with an eye for future development it was wrong to make a “sporting result (loss)” become a “tragedy” or a “catastrophe”.

Asserting obvious support for DJW’s team ahead of the TTFA Elections, Infantino defended the Home of Football investment as a building tool for the country’s football. “You need to build, you need to be stable … and that’s exactly what has been done and then the results will come because of the seriousness of the investment. We have now a solid foundation in this so that football can grow and be built and I am sure this will happen in the future with John-Williams,” Infantino said.

Infantino’s “future with John-Williams” narrative was ruined by DJW’s 26-20 loss to William Wallace’s men at the TTFA polls and I suspect that as far as FIFA is concerned, the wrong men are in charge.

A FIFA/CONCACAF audited study of the TTFA’s Finances in February apparently triggered the move to step in and remove the elected officials even though General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan had reported to local media then that the mission was favourable and that FIFA were on their side.  

Leadership of major sporting organisations has long been about politics and power and football presidency at the global and confederation levels perfectly illustrate this.

I attended a few Caribbean Football Union (CFU) congress sessions that were open to the media during Jack Warner’s reign and saw the God-like sway he held over his subjects as a FIFA Vice-President and the CONCACAF Chief.

With that power, also came freedom to make unobstructed decisions, especially in a FIFA culture fashioned by Joao Havelange that while financially flourishing always had integrity question marks.

Brazilian Havelange, widely considered Warner’s mentor, enjoyed a 24-year reign -- before Sepp Blatter took over in 1998 – that boasted exponential football growth while never entertaining opposition. History shows you don’t fight FIFA and win so the odds are heavily against the relegated TTFA executive challenging this move by FIFA.

In the meantime, T&T’s football fans deserve more from their national team. Their October 2010 ranking of 106th in a brief sojourn outside FIFA’s top-100 almost 10 years ago, is the only ever weaker ranking position than they have now. Heading for a whole year outside FIFA’s top-100 as they are now, is unheard of in T&T’s glamorous football history.

How and when will the turnaround happen? Fenwick did not make it as a manager in his native England, but has had success in T&T, copping Pro League titles with Central FC (twice) and San Juan Jabloteh. He knows the T&T landscape well enough but appears short on the kind of talent that has propelled T&T’s International programme in the past.

Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano along with the yet-to-be-named others on a five-member panel will have a tough job resuscitating T&T’s football, especially in this contentious climate fraught with bitterness and legal dispute.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it would be "more than irresponsible" to restart competitions too early amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sport around the world has been brought to a standstill by COVID-19, which has killed more than 95,500 people globally.

The Bundesliga could restart in May as leagues start to plan and prepare for resumptions, but Infantino warned it would be dangerous to get going again too early.

"As our main priority, our principles, the ones we employ in our competitions and also we invite to everyone to follow, is health comes first," he said on Thursday, via the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

"As much as I emphasise it, it is not enough. It’s not worth to put at risk any human life for any game, any competition, nor any league. Everyone should have this clear in their minds.

"It would be more than irresponsible to restart the competitions if the situation is not safe 100 per cent. If you must wait a bit more time, we must do it. It is better to wait a bit more than taking risks."

Many bodies and leagues around the world are set to face financial difficulties in the wake of COVID-19, particularly if games are cancelled or played behind closed doors.

FIFA is said to have a $2.7 billion cash reserve it is set to use to create an emergency fund and Infantino said the governing body was planning to help.

"Thanks to the work we have been doing together in FIFA during the last four years, we find ourselves in a very solid financial situation. FIFA have a good reputation in the financial markets," he said.

"It helps us to consolidate a solid base of important reserves, but our reserves are not FIFA's money, it is the money of football. So, when football is in need, we have to think about a solution to help. It is our responsibility. This is how I see it as president of FIFA.

"As football has stopped in the whole world, we are all facing economic issues in different levels, from the base to professional football. Given this, we are already collaborating with you to asses the financial impact to prepare the right answer."

The date, November 22, 1986, The place, the Las Vegas Hilton hotel in the United States. The occasion, the WBC heavyweight championship clash between Jamaica’s Trevor Berbick and the USA’s Mike Tyson. Round two. Tyson almost knocks Berbick’s head off with a massive overhand right. Berbick, his faculties barely intact, initiates a clinch. Tyson wants none of it. He frees himself enough to land a booming right to the body, shifting Berbick’s intestines and internal organs like a housekeeper rearranging living room furniture. The the-20-year-old demon then goes for a murderous uppercut with the right. He misses. Tyson then connects with a left hook that must have felt like a crowbar as it crashed into Berbick’s left temple. The Jamaican falls. Legs like jelly and a brain giving his limbs 500 commands all at once, undermines Berbick’s attempts to stand and fight on. As he falls into the ropes like a bag of yam flung off a truck at the Coronation Market, referee Mills Lane gives the universal gesture signalling the fight is over.

History should by now have attached significance to what happened inside Committee Room 15 at Britain’s House of Commons in London on May 10, 2011. It was there that the former head of the Football Association in England, Lord Triesman made damning allegations about Austin Jack Warner as he addressed Members of Parliament sitting on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Triesman told the MPs that Jack Warner asked for £2.5 million to build an Education Centre in Trinidad and Tobago, with all the cash channelled through him. Lord Triesman also alleged that Warner asked for £500,000 to buy Haiti’s World Cup TV rights, again with all the money being channelled through him. The claims were shocking if only for the fact that it was the first time such a senior administrator had accused Jack Warner of corruption. It wasn’t only what Lord Triesman had said though. It was about where he said it. It wasn’t him talking at an after-dinner event or giving an interview to a journalist. He was, for all intents and purposes testifying to the highest decision-making body in Britain about the reasons for England’s failure to secure the rights to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Now Warner had long been rumoured to be jowl deep in corruption as he wielded awesome power as a FIFA Vice President, CONCACAF boss and head of the CFU. Indeed, the British journalist Andrew Jennings achieved fame through his ravenous hounding of Warner, whom he believed to have been the most corrupt administrator in all of sport. But despite numerous claims of wrongdoing, nothing ever stuck. It birthed the nickname ‘Teflon Jack’ as none of the mud slung at this son of Santo Claro could ever sully his reputation. In his heyday, which lasted for decades, Jack Warner was one of the most powerful men in the world, let alone sport or football. He was there on the couch at the White House in 2009 when his old friend, Joseph Sepp Blatter, presented jerseys to US President Barack Obama. He was the man who any nation preparing a bid for World Cups and big tournaments in CONCACAF and the CFU had to get on side if they were to have any hope of success in the voting process. He was a man who had an extraordinary work ethic, famously inviting associates for meetings at 5 am at his office, only for them to turn up at a quarter to five and be told that Warner could not chit-chat with them as he was already in a meeting with other associates. The same Warner would then be sending emails at 10 pm, leaving persons to wonder if he ever slept.

So Lord Triesman’s testimony was the start of the tide changing for Warner. Only 19 days after that statement to British MPs, Warner was suspended by FIFA for what was alleged to have been his role in the corruption of officials of the CFU at a now-infamous meeting held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain. A month later, on June 20, 2011, Jack Warner resigned as FIFA Vice President and his long list of enemies now undertook the task of turning his fall from grace into imprisonment.

There’s no need to retell too much of his recent history. We all know Warner has gone to the UK Privy Council to fight his extradition to the USA to face multiple charges of bribery and corruption related to the awarding of rights for the hosting of World Cup tournaments. On March 18 this year, a fresh indictment was filed at the United States District Court (Eastern District Court of New York), naming Jack Warner among 17 defendants charged with a massive and sophisticated corruption of football as a sport and FIFA as a governing body.

With two hefty US Federal indictments and a laundry list of charges against him, Jack Warner appears to be Trevor Berbick fighting against Mike Tyson. The now 77-year-old has always maintained his innocence, staying true to his vow to fight the charges with every resource available to him. But the game appears to be up. If the first indictment and attendant charges were like the body punch that Tyson hit Berbick with 34 years ago, then this second indictment is like that left hook to the temple. Even if by some miracle he beats the charges, Warner’s name will never be cleared. For the tapestry of crimes woven by US prosecutors you feel that even if he’s acquitted, Jack Warner will always be in jail, just minus the bars. This is Warner’s extended Trevor Berbick moment. And the US prosecutors are like a prime time Mike Tyson, sizing up their target and going in for the kill. What chance does uncle Jack’s glass jaw have against a raging Iron Mike? Selah.

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes it is imperative the Bundesliga resumes when possible for financial and sporting reasons.

Like most competitions around the world, the Bundesliga has been suspended in an effort to limit the impact of coronavirus.

However, it would appear Germany's top flight is closer to returning than other leagues as most teams have already resumed training in small groups, with games set to take place behind closed doors in early May.

There have been fears that some leagues may have to be scrapped entirely if they cannot be concluded in the coming weeks, yet Rummenigge is vehemently against that notion.

"We know that it is necessary to start again for two reasons," he told Corriere dello Sport. 

"The first is the sports one. You have to assign the title, know which team will participate in the cups, who will be demoted. 

"The second, no less important, is economic. Here the televisions that broadcast the games have a strong impact on revenues."

To help lessen the financial impact, Bayern and Germany's three other Champions League representatives in 2019-20 - Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen - have all pledged €20million to Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga clubs.

Rummenigge warned such collaborations will be necessary across the game after a decade of big spending.

"For 10 years, football has lived beyond its means and the clubs have taken all the risks," he added.

"In such a difficult moment, balance sheets do not count as much as cash.

"The crisis is global, the solution must be shared. The field can limit the damage. FIFA and UEFA must improve their relations and act economically."

Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, the lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have proposed that Mark Hovell, a solicitor from Manchester, England, be the sole arbitrator in their case against football’s world governing body FIFA.

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