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Open Thread: August 5, 2021

Our Thursday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Hazard rejoins full training

And (also via MadridXtra) Mario Cortegena reports that he is now healthy and recovered.

After two seasons of being able to produce little of the world class Hazard of his Chelsea years, the man from Belgium has a lot of work to do to instill confidence in the Real Madrid faithful.

Marca reports that the EPL will make some changes to the VAR rules

The Premier League change a number of criteria for VAR use

Quoting Mike Riley, managing director of PGMOL:

We have effectively reintroduced the benefit of the doubt to the attacking player.

So in a really close offside situation we carry on following the same processes that we did last year with VAR. We apply the one-pixel lines, placing the defending line and then the attacking line.

We then put on the thicker broadcast lines and where they overlap, those situations will now be deemed as onside. So effectively, what we give back to the game is 20 goals that were disallowed last season.

Anything extremely close will be onside. Attackers get the benefit of the doubt. This is as it should have been before the VAR officials’ interpretations entered, because there is always the question of choosing which video frame to take as saying that the ball has been struck.

The experience we have had over the last couple of seasons is that the Premier League is all about competitive and compelling contact..

We’ve lost a bit of that contact sport, probably because of the intervention of VAR. The experience of the Euros has shown that people will appreciate it if you allow the game to flow, if you accept that some small contacts just aren’t fouls; they are part of the game.

And the feedback we’ve had from clubs and players is to raise that threshold, so referees don’t go forensically looking for minute contact but consider three factors: is there clear and proper contact? Does that contact have a consequence - does it make somebody fall over? Or is the motivation of the player to use that little contact to go down?

So if you have clear contact with clear consequences, that is what you penalise, but leave the small things alone, on the pitch and in the VAR Hub.

VAR won’t be giving penalties for small contacts inside the box. This seems to be more of a clarification of how to define “clear and obvious error” — there will be no more going through the pixels with a microscope to find contact.

It would make sense for LaLiga if they too were to come out before this season and clarify the VAR rules. Recall specifically that ruling of a handball against Militao in the match against Sevilla, which overturned the referee’s call of a penalty for Real Madrid and handed one to Sevilla. It clearly deflected off Militao’s shoulder first, but somehow the VAR found it had clear and obvious enough evidence to overturn the referee. How about addressing that sort of absurd VAR nonsense.

LaLiga OKs deal to bail out Barcelona and fix its problems paying for Messi

Javier Tebas had just warned Barcelona in July, if you will recall, that they won’t be able to complete Messi’s signing in compliance with LaLiga’s FFP rules unless they reduce their wage bill by the staggering amount of 200 million euros.

It would appear that Barca had a good idea this loan was coming their way since they nevertheless signed Depay, Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal this summer for the upcoming season. As a result of the loan the Messi contract will be signed à très bientôt: “A source at Barcelona said they hope to finalise Messi’s new terms before Sunday’s Joan Gamper Trophy, when they play Juventus, and that Thursday ‘could be a key day.’”

Barcelona, Real Madrid and the rest of the teams will receive 270 million euros to be used according to following parameters:

The clubs must spend at least 70% of the money on investments related to long-term growth, 15% on refinancing their debt, and 15% can be used to increase their league-imposed spending limits.

Kiyan has referenced a source at Real Madrid saying they have been taking responsibility to deal with their own financial problems, including limiting expenditures on players, and don’t want to take out what is in effect a loan that is forced on them:

It makes sense entirely that LaLiga wants to make sure that Messi stays in Spain, especially for the new lucrative contract with ESPN. But that doesn’t make it less of an ugly sight watching the esteemed football league dance around and bend over backwards like medieval court minstrels for one player and one club’s sake.