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New regulations could mean heads, you lose

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HEAD START: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson challenges Tottenham’s Lucas Moura for a header. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

As with just about every activity these days, because of COVID-19, pre-season football is that little bit different.

In years gone by, around this time we normally see the likes of Manchester United playing in front of packed stadiums in Asia, Liverpool touring the United States, and even Premier League teams travelling to the other side of the world on a money-spinning and brand awareness tour.

But this time around Liverpool are playing in Austria rather than Australia, Arsenal played games in Scotland, and United, for the most part, stayed at home.

For me, this is not really that big of a deal. Sure, it’s sad that so many overseas supporters, who live far from home, can’t see their teams play, but from a selfish, supporter’s point of view, a training camp an hour or so away is far better than a 24 hour flight for the players who, let’s face it, are there purely for PR reasons as opposed to football.

So the players, in theory, should be refreshed and ready for the new season which kicks-off in just two weeks’ time.

Speaking of player welfare, there is one potential major change to the game this season that has kind of slipped under the radar and strange as it may sound, it has nothing whatsoever to do with COVID-19.

Under new proposals, clubs in English football could be required to significantly adapt their training regimes after the game’s leading authorities agreed to new guidelines to limit the number of times players are allowed to head the ball.

The recommendations will restrict footballers to 10, what they call ‘higher-force’ headers a week in training. The reasoning behind this is because of the continued investigations into possible health risks associated with headers, which could in some cases, potentially include dementia.

While I obviously completely welcome any new regulations that will protect players’ health, I’m at a loss to understand how this will be managed and practically enforced.

Will players have to ‘keep count’ of the headers they make in training each week and stop when they hit 10? Will each club have to employ a ‘header counter’ or give a member of staff the responsibility to tot up the number of times footballs are headed each session?

When I was a kid playing football on any patch of grass I could find, I loved a good header. I have distant memories of my Dad throwing the ball as high as he could in our garden for me to get underneath and head it with all my might.

This then begs another big question.

Sure, professional players are the ones under the spotlight, but football is a game played by people of all levels and all ages.

Just pass a local park in Hà Nội on a weekend and you’ll see plenty of matches taking place – pre-social distancing of course.

So who will be checking off their headers? Who will be in schools monitoring how many times children should be heading the ball? And surely, compared to adults, that figure should be considerably less or indeed not at all.

I applaud the powers that be in bringing this discussion to the table, and offering solutions to sort things out. But those answers need to be thought through, long and hard, to make sure that everyone is safe, and not just those playing the game professionally.

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/999708/new-regulations-could-mean-heads-you-lose.html

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First win for Vietnam at Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone

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The Vietnamese tennis team got off to a perfect start at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III tournament in Jordan after a 2-1 win over Pacific Oceania in their Pool B opener on September 15.

Vietnamese players in red jerseys at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III

Vietnamese players in red jerseys at the 2021 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group III
 

The team representing Pacific Oceania is made up from various national teams from the Oceania region, except for Australia and New Zealand, including Colin Sinclair who currently ranks 723rd in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, the highest place in the tournament.

In the first singles match, Trinh Linh Giang handled Mainguy Clement 4-6, 6-3, and 7-5 in three sets, putting Vietnam 1-0 in front.

The second singles clash saw Colin Sinclair of Pacific Oceania overwhelm Vietnamese star Ly Hoang Nam 4-6, 6-4, and 4-6 in three sets, earning an equalizer.

In the doubles match, Ly Hoang Nam/ Le Quoc Khanh defeated pair Colin Sinclair/ Baudinet Brett to go 2-1 up.

Next up for Vietnam will be a clash against Qatar on September 16 afternoon.

Source: VOV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/entertainment-sports/first-win-for-vietnam-at-davis-cup-asia-oceania-zone-775390.html

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Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win

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Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win

Vietnam players celebrate after the victory over Pacific Oceania in Davis Cup on September 15, 2021. Photo by Vietnam Tennis Federation


Vietnam won 2-1 against Pacific Oceania on the first day of Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone matches Wednesday.

Trinh Linh Giang played first, facing Mainguy Clement. Giang let Clement win the first set, but came back stronger in the next two sets to claim victory.

In the second match, the key player of Vietnam, Ly Hoang Nam, battled Colin Sinclair, the star of Pacific Oceania. Sinclair won the first set and Nam equalized, but the Vietnamese lost in the last set.

After two matches, the score was 1-1 and the result was decided by the final match, as Nam and Le Quoc Khanh played Sinclair and Baudinett Brett in the doubles. The Vietnamese players won the first set, before Pacific Oceania equalized. In an intense third set, Nam and Khanh wrapped it up with a triumph. Overall, Vietnam won 2-1 after 7.5 hours of competition with Pacific Oceania.

This victory pushed Vietnam to the top of their group. The team will play Qatar on the second day Thursday.

Previously, Vietnam had been chosen to host group three of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone. But because of the ongoing Covid-19 wave in the country, the International Tennis Federation instead appointed Jordan as host.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/sports/vietnam-national-tennis-team-claim-first-davis-cup-win-4357399.html

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Hải Phòng FC proposes plan to organise World Cup qualifiers matches at their stadium

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Hải Phòng FC would like to host Việt Nam’s matches team in the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers campaign at Lạch Tray stadium after international media complained about the grass quality at Mỹ Đình stadium. Photo courtesy of Hải Phòng FC

HẢI PHÒNG — Following complaints about the state of the pitch at Việt Nam’s national stadium, Hải Phòng FC is offering to host the next round of World Cup qualifier games.

After the loss to Australia last week, the condition of the pitch at Mỹ Đình was heavily criticised.

Now Hải Phòng FC president Trần Văn Hoàn, has written to the People’s Committee and Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng, asking to work with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on the possibility of Lạch Chay stdium hosting the matches against Saudi Arabia on November 16 and China on February 1.

In the proposal, the club says they believe that organising Việt Nam’s matches on low quality grass surface such as Mỹ Đình will affect the professional quality of the game as well as the image of the country.

VFF board members said that they have not yet received the proposal from Hải Phòng. However, the possibility of the national team playing at Lạch Tray is low due to many regulations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Rules state the stadium must be near an international airport so that the visiting team can minimise the travel distance, be close to a five-star hotel to ensure safety and have training facilities nearby.

After the 1-0 victory against Việt Nam, Australian coach Graham Arnold complained about the grass of Mỹ Đình, saying it had detrimental effect on his team’s performance.

Australian media even compared the stadium surface to a “cow paddock”.

Mỹ Đình Stadium is a non-business unit under the management of the General Department of Physical Education and Sports. VFF has to pay a fee every time the national team plays there.

Addressing the criticism of the pitch, director of the Mỹ Đình National Sports Complex Nguyễn Trọng Hồ said: “The grass is still good as AFC has checked and assessed the pitch to be of good quality, thereby allowing the match to be held.”

Currently, Hải Phòng FC is waiting for the permission of the People’s Committee and the Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng city to work with VFF. If this is approved, the representative of the club will send an official letter to VFF.

Lạch Tray stadium used to be considered one of the low-quality stadiums in Việt Nam. However, the team has just invested to improve the grass, lights and facilities.

In the 2022 World Cup third round qualification, Việt Nam are still to win a point after two defeats to Saudi Arabia and Australia and are only above the bottom team China in group B thanks to a better goal difference.

The team will return to training on September 16 to prepare for the two away matches against China and Oman in October.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1032196/hai-phong-fc-proposes-plan-to-organise-world-cup-qualifiers-matches-at-their-stadium.html

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