Rule changes, interchange, kick-in 15m, lateral move on mark, 50m penalty, holding the ball, Mason Cox

The AFL have revealed three new rules for the 2021 season, as well as a rule that will be tested in the VFL and East Coast Competition, but some fans have already hit back at the changes.

The new rules are that there will be a max interchange cap of 75 players, down from 90 per match, players returning the ball from a behind will be given 15m instead of 10 and defensive players will be penalised for moving laterally on the mark, outside a 1m “level of tolerance”. This means that the defending player will only get minimal lateral movement on the mark and if the defender moves off the mark in any direction before “play on” is called, they will give away a 50m penalty.

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Another rule will be introduced to the VFL and East Coast competition will see three players from each team stationed inside 50, including a pair in the goalsquare, at all kick-ins, boundary throw-ins and ball-ups. The umpire will need to wait until all players are in position. The penalty for not complying is a 50m penalty. reported that this rule would be monitored with an aim to introduce it to for the 2022 AFL season.

The AFL has yet to reveal the length of next season as well as the quarter lengths, which is expected to revert back to 20 minute quarters plus time on.

AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking revealed the changes with the aim of introducing more fatigue and move openness in the game after defence continued to dominate.

“The main reason (for the 75 interchange cap) is to try and open up congestion around the ground,” Hocking said. “There are a lot of high pressure game styles which have kicked in, the pressure factors have increased, and have been on the increase for five years now, so our belief is we need to put a little bit of fatigue back into the system, and to recalibrate that part of the game and hopefully have the result of opening up the game.”

On the ban on lateral movement by defensive players on the mark, Hocking added: “We think that will open up the game, it will open up the 45 (degree angle) pass option, which is the best real estate.

“We just want more time and space back in the game, the fans are looking for a better balance between defence and attack, and the game has definitely swayed towards defence.

“My role in that as custodian of it is to make sure the right things are introduced to open the game back up, and to have more Dustin Martin moments that he did in the Grand Final, where he was able to find space, and we would like to create more of those – that‘s my role and I’m committed to finding that space.”

But social media was quick to react with Collingwood forward Mason Cox leading the charge.

“Any chance we could keep the rules the same for once? It’s been hard enough learning it from scratch much less it changing every year. Being an umpire would be a nightmare. Every year there are more changes to AFL than any other sport in the world I feel like,” he tweeted.

It easy to understand the frustration with plenty of talk about the mid-year moves that saw the holding the ball interpretation become one of the hot button issues of the season.

ABC radio host Andrew Hogan tweeted: “This is seriously the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Dustin Martin has ‘Dustin Martin moments’ because he is (and get ready cos this is wild) literally Dustin Martin…”

Former Hawks and Lions player Jordan Lisle also took aim while frustrated by all four of the new rules that are coming in.

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Coronavirus live news: US nears 10m cases as global infections pass 50m | World news

October was worst month for pandemic so far

A Reuters tally has calculated that October was the worst month of the coronavirus pandemic so far, with its second wave in the past 30 days accounting for a quarter of all cases.

The last month saw the spread of the virus accelerate at a rapid pace: while it took 32 days for cases to rise from 30 million to 40 million, it only took 21 days to add another 10 million.

The bleak milestone followed the US reporting more than 100,000 new cases on four consecutive days. The country broke its own record for daily cases nearly every day last week.

Europe has also greatly contributed to the global surge in cases. The region has reported around 12 million infections, making it the worst-affected region, overtaking Latin America. It also makes up almost a quarter (24%) of coronavirus deaths.

A Reuters analysis has shown the number of new coronavirus cases in Europe is growing by around one million every three days:

Economic fallout from Covid-19 makes prospect of third world war ‘a risk’



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British Steel’s £50m working capital boost as UK bank backs growth strategy

British Steel has secured a £50 million loan as it looks to expand production and sales in the coming months.

Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance has provided the funds, stating the facility will be  “instrumental in supporting British Steel in growing its production and sales volumes to maximise opportunities across the market”.

It comes virtually a year since Jingye Group agreed a deal with the Official Receiver to buy the Scunthorpe-headquartered business.

The West Midlands lender said it had worked with PwC to understand the company’s challenges and opportunities, underlining the long heritage and premium long products it supplies around the world.

Secure Trust Bank’s regional managing director for Yorkshire and the North East, John Gibbon, said: “Secure Trust Bank is proud to be supporting British Steel at this exciting time. “We immersed ourselves within the business and used our many years of experience to create the most suitable and flexible facility for this British institution. 

“The new owner, Jingye, is committed to the business, and British Steel is set to benefit from further significant investment which will transform its performance in the coming months and years.”

Production at British Steel.

The bilateral receivables facility will aid the work to develop new products to support the UK’s infrastructure drive to ‘build back better’ with HS2 a key project on the radar.

When taking over British Steel in March, Jingye committed to supporting the modernising of plant and improvement of performance, with the development of an electric arc furnace in Teesside and the construction of a new power plant to improve efficiency in Scunthorpe.

British Steel is also a core partner in the Zero Carbon Humber proposal currently with government, which plans to turn one of the most carbon intensive clusters in Europe to a Net Zero exemplar.

Alex Boul, finance director at British Steel, said: “Jingye is investing £1.2bn in the transformation of British Steel and we’re reassured to see Secure Trust Bank demonstrating such faith in our plans with this working capital financing agreement.

“In a competitive market it will provide the necessary support to our working capital, allowing us to grow our production and sales volumes in line with our investment plans.”

Mr Gibbon and colleague Paul Goodchild worked closely with Dominic Renshaw, debt and capital advisory director at PwC in Manchester, on the deal. He said: “We’re very pleased to have brought Secure Trust Bank and British Steel together. The team at Secure Trust have invested a lot of time with PwC and the British Steel management team to understand the growth plans for a business which plays an important role both locally and nationally.

“It’s great to see this significant amount of funding from Secure Trust in support of British Steel and Jingye.”

Solihull headquartered Secure Trust supports 1.6 million customers, with a £2.3 billion lending portfolio and deposits of £2 billion. It employs nearly 1,000 people and has traded for almost 70 years.

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EFL clubs REJECT Premier League’s £50m bailout package

English Football League (EFL) clubs have rejected a £50million bailout package offered by the Premier League.

On Thursday, EFL clubs met to discuss a £50m offer – believed to consist largely of interest-free loans and grants – from the top-flight that applied only to those in Leagues One and Two, with discussions said to be continuing with regard to further financial support for Championship outfits.

Such a package was offered after the controversial ‘Project Big Picture’ – which included an immediate £250m bailout for the EFL and a 25 per cent annual share in any future Premier League media revenues but also concentrated considerable power in the hands of the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ – was dismissed by Premier League clubs, who instead agreed to undergo a strategic review.

In an official statement released on Thursday evening, the EFL said that the “conditional” offer fell “some way short” of the money needed to address lost gate receipts from the lack of fans in stadiums during the coronavirus pandemic.

The League also said there was a “strong consensus” that any rescue package must “meet the requirements of all 72 clubs before it can be considered in full”.

EFL statement in full

“EFL Clubs have today met by division to discuss the conditional offer put forward yesterday by the Premier League in respect to the financial support required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The need for continued unity across the membership base was fundamental to discussions across all three divisions, and therefore there was a strong consensus that any rescue package must meet the requirements of all 72 Clubs before it can be considered in full.

“The League has been very clear in its discussions of the financial requirements needed to address lost gate receipts in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and while EFL Clubs are appreciative that a formal proposal has now been put forward, the conditional offer of £50million falls some way short of this.

“The EFL is keen to continue discussions with the Premier League to reach an agreeable solution that will address the short-term financial needs of all of our Clubs and allow us the ability to consider the longer-term economic issues in parallel that specifically look to achieve a more sustainable EFL for the future.”

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AFL finals 2020: Richmond free kicks against, 50m penalties, arrogance, loss to Brisbane Lions, bullies to bullied

Triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown believes Richmond is treading a fine hubristic line that could derail its premiership dynasty hopes, but has backed Damien Hardwick’s men to promptly address their ill-discipline.

It comes as AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson claims the reigning premiers went from bullies to the bullied on Friday night as Brisbane stunned the Tigers and sent them into unfamiliar semi-final territory.

Tigers trio Dustin Martin, Shai Bolton and Marlion Pickett all gave away 50m penalties during Friday’s qualifying final loss to Brisbane, with some of the penalties leading directly to Lions goals.

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Semi Final

Champion Data numbers, revealed on Fox Footy’s On The Couch, indicate the Tigers are ranked 18th for 50m penalties against this season, as well as 16th for goals against from free kicks.

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Big 50m penalty against Carlton’s Eddie Betts in dying stages of win over Essendon ticked off by AFL

The AFL says the controversial 50m penalty paid against Blue Eddie Betts that took the Bombers from the goal square to the centre of the ground was the correct call.

Betts tried to pressure Essendon’s Adam Saad as he quickly attempted to get the ball forward with the Bombers down by two points with seconds to go.

But as Betts took off, he was hit with a 50m penalty.

Betts questioned the decision at the time and spoke about the incident after Carlton held on for a dramatic one-point victory on Saturday night.

“I got blocked twice before I even got there – I got hit twice,” he complained to 7Sport.

“(The umpire) said it’s a new rule, I’ve never heard of this new rule.

“And he gave a 90m penalty, it wasn’t 50.

“He took them to the centre of the square, I’m thinking how far are they running?”

Betts admitted he couldn’t watch as Bombers recruit Jacob Townsend took his set shot to give Essendon victory.

The ex-Tigers’ attempt fell short and the Blues hung on for back-to-back wins.

Speaking on Sunday, Damien Barrett said the AFL had confirmed both the initial penalty and the length of the 50m penalty were correct.

“(Matt) Stevic, the umpire, points out the mark to Carlton players but they keep going back which makes the 50m penalty longer than it was,” he said.

“The AFL has signed off on it being the correct decision.

“You can not go over the mark until the umpire calls play on. And the umpire can’t call play on until the player leaves the square, not when they start running inside the square.”

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