SPORTS AGENDA: Premier League to introduce a multi-ball system

SPORTS AGENDA: Premier League to introduce a multi-ball system to speed up play and cut down on time-wasting… while Wayne Rooney can leave DC United for FREE if a top-flight club comes in for him

  • 10 match balls will be in use at each game in an effort to speed up play
  • One will be in play, one with the fourth official and eight will be at various points
  • Wayne Rooney’s contract has a clause which allows him to join a top flight club 

The Premier League is to introduce a multi-ball system for the forthcoming season with 10 match balls in use at each top-flight game in an attempt to speed up play and cut down on time-wasting.

One ball will be in play, one with the fourth official and eight will be placed at various points around the pitch on cones. Two will be behind each goal and two along each touchline. Those behind the goal must be positioned such that they do not interfere with the Hawk-Eye goal decision system.

Clubs have been told to use a minimum of eight ball assistants who must make eye contact with the player restarting play before throwing them the ball, and must give the ball at the same speed to both clubs.

The Premier League is to introduce a multi-ball system for the forthcoming season

It is understood that Wayne Rooney has a clause in his contract with MLS side DC United which permits him to leave for a Premier League side for free, should an offer be forthcoming. The former Derby boss is ambitious and aims to manage in the top flight during his career.

Wayne Rooney (C) poses with club staff, management, and players during a press conference

Taking of the knee to be discussed 

Taking the knee is expected to be among the topics discussed between Premier League captains on a Zoom call a week on Thursday.

Skippers will have the chance ‘provide feedback, ask questions and of course give their views on any football matches’, a Premier League circular sent to clubs states. Clubs have been asked to send topics for discussion, with an agenda to follow.

In August last year players from all 20 clubs decided to continue the pre-kick-off gesture to highlight their opposition to racism. They have been doing so since June 2020 with the wholehearted support of the Premier League, while players and officials have worn ‘No Room For Racism’ badges on their shirts.

Commonwealth Games demand disappointing

It was interesting to see television adverts flogging Commonwealth Games tickets.

The message from Birmingham organisers has always been that tickets are selling fast. TV ads with 10 days to go suggest otherwise.

Farah’s agency continues to deliver

Sir Mo Farah teamed up again with agency Freuds to launch the BBC piece in which he revealed he had been trafficked to the UK and forced to work as a domestic servant. 

Farah took on the agency after complaining he was sick of answering questions over drug testing.

Interesting times for some of the reporters following Premier League pre-season tours in America. One turned up in Baltimore to cover the Arsenal tour only to find the hotel was locked. Eventually a police officer opened the door and the reporter was told the booking had been cancelled and the hotel closed for the night because there had been a murder.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a journalist covering Chelsea in Los Angeles witnessed a police officer shoot a man dead around 20 yards away from where he was.

Visa issues a worry for Olympics

The shocking visa issues facing some elite athletes hoping to compete in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene this week has got organisers of the LA28 Olympic Games scrambling.

If the US immigration authorities cannot process a few hundred visas in time, what hope is there for the thousands of athletes who will be applying for the Olympics in LA? We can expect IOC chief Thomas Bach to be raising this with LA28 president Casey Wasserman when he visits the city today to review Games preparations.

US press conferences spring surprises

Journalists were slightly bemused at the sight of a group of supporters dressed in hard hats in attendance at Gareth Bale’s LAFC unveiling. 

At one point, the group burst into a chant of ‘Gar-eth Ba-le’, before whooping and hollering at various answers. 

In other US press conference news, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel had to battle with background music that was piped into the media room during his appearance before the clash with Mexico’s Club America at the futuristic Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Chelsea living the high life

Chelsea’s sanction woes appear to be well behind them. The Blues stayed at the famous Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills during the Los Angeles leg of their US tour, where room service prices were enough to make the government weep. Two freshly baked cookies? Fourteen dollars. A burger? That would be 30 dollars. Steak frites? Eighty-four dollars.

The club’s squad were also mixing it with the stars, with half hanging out with legendary US rapper Snoop Dogg, while the other half took a trip to Dodger Stadium with chairman Todd Boehly.

In Las Vegas, Boston Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, a Chelsea supporter, was given a jersey by fellow American Christian Pulisic.

Ronaldo trains alongside Blades

Players from Sheffield United were surprised to see a man training on his own on the pitch next to them during their training camp at Lisbon’s equivalent of St George’s Park. 

It turned out that the man in question was none other than Manchester United’s exiled Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps unsurprisingly, nobody from the Blades contingent asked him if he fancied a kickabout.

UK Athletics jinxes it

UK Athletics launched their World Championships campaign on Twitter with the not so well thought out hashtag of ‘#whereitstarts’. 

It started with the mixed relay team and men’s high jump competitors crashing out on the opening morning. ‘This is where it ends’ may have been more appropriate.

Vaughan on the big bucks 

No wonder Michael Vaughan was reluctant to stand down from the BBC while the ECB’s investigation into allegations of historic racism at Yorkshire was ongoing. 

The latest figures from the broadcaster show that the former England captain was paid at least £225,000 for his work in 2021-22, up from £175,000 the previous year.


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