The country's premier football tournament, Indian Super League (ISL) is set to introduce a 9:30 pm kick-off time for its weekend double headers in the upcoming 2021-22.
PTI has reliably learnt that ISL, organised and promoted by Football Sports Development Limited, for the first time in its seven years history will attempt for a late evening weekend kick-offs.
"The league had informed clubs on the possible change to the weekend double header start," confirmed an ISL club source.
"From players point of view, the 9:30 pm will be a much-welcomed decision as it will bring respite from the sweltering humidity," the source added.
While the regular weekday fixture will be a 7:30 pm start, the double headers on weekends, which until last season were a 5:30 pm feature, will now move to 9:30 pm start.
"The league is likely to announce 2021-22 fixture by early next week," informed another source while confirming change in the weekend double header.
Introduced in 2014 as a short 11-week event, ISL over the years has gained massive momentum in popularising the sport across India, bringing in transformational changes to the format and competition and earning itself the country's premier football league status.
ISL now runs from November to March, with an increased number of matches to 115, involving 11 clubs.
Early this March, the league had earned accolades for being the first live sports event to commence, and successfully complete a five-month long competition in bio-secured bubble at Goa.
The league has once selected Goa to conduct the upcoming 2021-22 season commencing November 19. The tournament will be held behind closed doors at three stadiums until March 2022.
EPL clubs can play South American players after ban threat averted
Premier League clubs that had prevented players from Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay from travelling to participate in World Cup matches will be allowed to play them this weekend after a threat of a five-day ban was averted.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City were among clubs who did not release players for the current international break as they would have been travelling to countries on the UK's COVID-19 red list.
Their home countries had the right to trigger the ban but agreed to waive the FIFA rule after talks.
The decision had been reached "based on positive signals and constructive dialogue FIFA has received from the UK government towards the international match window in October," the game's governing body said in a statement.
The leaders of FIFA, the Football Association and the Premier League had sent a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to resolve the issue.
"The UK government is now open to find a reasonable solution with the three organisations, who are working closely together in a spirit of mutual understanding, in the interests of everyone," FIFA's statement said.
Unimpressive Lille slump to 2-1 loss at Lorient
Lille's poor start to the Ligue 1 season continued as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat by Lorient on Friday, leaving the French champions with just one win from their first five games.
Burak Yilmaz equalised from the spot after Armand Lauriente's early opener but Jocelyn Gouvennec's side conceded a last-gasp goal from Terem Moffi that left them in 10th place with only five points.
Lorient, who abandoned possession but were the most dangerous side on the break, are fourth on eight points.
On Saturday, leaders Paris St Germain will be looking to claim their fifth win in as many games when they take on promoted Clermont without Neymar and Lionel Messi, back from international duty but having played too recently to be involved.
However, Kylian Mbappe will likely return for PSG, having recovered from a calf injury.
Lille, who were without the injured Renato Sanches, Jonathan Bamba and Timothy Weah, fell behind in the seventh minute when Lauriente volleyed home from Moffi's backpass at the end of a counterattack.
But they levelled in the 25th when Yilmaz converted a penalty after being brought down in the box by Julien Laporte.
Lorient, who were denied a penalty after a Jose Fonte handball in the area, continued to threaten and it took several saves from Ivo Grbic to keep the visitors afloat.
The hosts were eventually rewarded three minutes from time when Nigerian Moffi sneaked the ball past Grbic after collecting a cross from Vincent Le Goff.
A late push from Lille was finely handled by the Lorient defence as the French champions failed to impress four days before hosting VfL Wolfsburg in their Champions League group opener.
Roma to auction special edition shirts in aid of Afghan refugees
AS Roma players will wear special edition shirts during their Serie A match against Sassuolo on Sunday to show support for the people of Afghanistan, which will then be auctioned off to raise money for refugees.
The shirts will feature the logo of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the sleeve, a UN Agency focused on aiding and protecting refugees.
An auction will then be held for the match-worn shirts, with all proceeds going towards UNHCR initiatives to help the Afghan people.
The club said on its website that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has resulted in 570,000 people fleeing their homes this year and left 3.5 million currently displaced, 80% of whom are women and children.
"Despite the incredibly difficult circumstances, the UNHCR has chosen to stay in Afghanistan – a country where we have been working for more than 40 years – in order to provide assistance and save lives," said Chiara Cardoletti, the UNHCR representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino.
"This year alone we have supplied essential survival items to more than 240,000 people, but the need for such items grows hour by hour and the funds available are woefully insufficient. At times like this, even a small contribution can make a huge difference."