Football games to be reduced to 60 minutes? Discussion on amidst FIFA Confederations Cup


first_imgA proposal to reduce each half of a game to 30 minutes is likely to be considered by the world football’s rule-makers, in a bid to prevent time-wasting and make the sport more attractive.The International Football Association Board (Ifab) has outlined a draft of the proposed changes to the rules of the game in a new strategy document titled ‘Play Fair!’.Adopting two halves of 30 minutes with the clock stopped when the ball goes out of play is one of dozens of ideas put forward by Ifab in an attempt to make football more attractive, reports The Guardian.Ifab says the Fair Play! has three aims – to improve player behaviour and increase respect, to increase playing time and to increase fairness and attractiveness.”Many people are very frustrated that a typical 90-minute match has fewer than 60 minutes of effective (actual) playing time (EPT) i.e. when the ball is in play. The strategy proposes measures to reduce time-wasting and ‘speed up’ the game.” Ifab said in the document.Ifab further informed that some of the proposals could be implemented immediately and require no law changes, while some are “ready for testing/experiments” and some are “for discussion”.Other ideas up “for discussion” include referees blowing for half-time or full-time only when the ball goes out of play, and a penalty kick being either scored or missed/saved, with players not allowed to follow up to score, in order to stop encroachment into the penalty area.The proposals are being trialed at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, which started on Saturday.advertisementlast_img read more

We Get Schooled In Advanced Volleyball Metrics


Jody Avirgan: Neil, my favorite little tidbit from the the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was the fact that each day, all the stats nerds streamed into the building toward panel discussions about sports analytics, waltzing right past — actual sports! There was a massive regional volleyball tournament taking place in the same building, and as far as I could tell, no one stopped to check it out. And, honestly, part of me thinks that it could have been an NFL game and people would have still hustled upstairs to talk about sports rather than just watch them. There was a panel discussion called “Is Analytics Taking the Fun Out of Sports.” This felt like a nice parallel to that idea.Neil Paine: “Hey, nerds — get your heads out of those volleyball spreadsheets and try watching a match!” (Said no one ever.) But seriously, the juxtaposition was interesting, particularly considering that we had the opportunity to speak with some people who do sabermetrics for volleyball. It seemed like this should have been a big moment for them — considering their sport was on display for all Sloan-ites to see — but instead it was just another smaller sport that can sometimes go neglected at an event geared more toward basketball, baseball and football.But not by us — right, Jody?Jody: Never. We contain multitudes. That said, I know next to nothing about volleyball. And while there is obvious strategy involved — you can see play fakes and how teammates work together — I hadn’t really thought about how you would evaluate the merit of particular plays. The main thing I learned from Mila Barzdukas and Giuseppe Vinci was to think about the setting pass. Is it one that leaves the team with no options but to flail and punch it over the net? Or is it a pass that multiple people could spike, from a wide range of unpredictable angles? That is, in essence, the goal of every possession — a versatile set pass. And it’s graded on a scale of 0 to 3. If you’ve got three options of attack from a given set, that’s a success.And the thing that makes it so intriguing is that the quality of the set is related to the pass before it, which is related to the serve before it. … It’s impossible to untangle each pass from the others. Which might be kind of unique among all sports, right? And, I imagine, a real metrics challenge. …Which is where I saw your wheels turning. Have we found your new beat?Neil: It’s possible. Not really having played volleyball since high school gym class, I’d never considered how oddly well-structured it is for analysis, in terms of the way each rally progresses and the fact that outcomes for individual players can be counted with relative ease. (Even at the 14- to 15-year-old level we observed, Vinci and Barzdukas insisted that coaches were tracking basic pluses and minuses — that is, positive and negative plays — for their players during matches.) It’s still not as perfectly suited to analytics as baseball (what is?), but it wouldn’t be unfair to liken it more to basketball than sports with more moving parts, such as hockey, soccer and football.The strategy of maximizing your passing options on any given setting opportunity struck me as particularly fascinating because it seems like one of those statistical best practices that can suddenly bring focus to a coach’s entire game plan. It that way, it may be much like how conserving outs should be the all-consuming imperative of a baseball offense or how resisting mid-range jumpers has become the mark of smart offensive basketball. (Even hockey has recently found a version of this: Playing dump-and-chase is the equivalent of cutting off your setter’s passing options.)The beauty of sports analytics, though, is that they’re a beginning, not an end. Finding the right strategy is just the first step in a journey that (hopefully) ends with the right players putting it to use. And with an actual volleyball tournament in such close proximity to analytics experts, both components of the odyssey were placed side-by-side, however briefly.Jody: Well said, Neil. Nice setup. Even the most grizzled volleyball coach would say you’re “passing a 3.” OK, folks, watch the video. Mila Barzdukas, Giuseppe Vinci, Neil Paine and Jody Avirgan in front of a regulation size volleyball. CORRECTION (March 10, 10:37 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the number of passes in a volleyball point. It’s two, not three. read more

India vs South Africa Magnificent Jasprit Bumrah rattles South African toporder


first_imgJasprit Bumrah once again showed his quality as a pace bowler with a fiery spell against the South Africans after the latter team decided to bat first in overcast conditions. Bumrah, opening the bowling with his long-time new ball partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, generated great movement off the seam as well as decent bounce to trouble the Proteas top-order players.A wide delivery proved too hot to handle for Hashim Amla as the edge was caught by Rohit Sharma at first slip. Quinton de Kock also edged a ball from the same bowler that moved away from de Kock after pitching. The left-hander edged it to the third slip fielder. Even South Africa captain Faf du Plessis got a thick inside-edge on his very first delivery that, luckily for him, missed the stumps and went away to the boundary.While Bumrah was generating considerable movement off the deck, Bhuvneshwar was getting the ball to move only slightly in the air at the other end. As a result, Kumar’s efforts were not proving to be as dangerous as Bumrah.It must be remembered that many experts including Glenn McGrath have described Jasprit as the key to India’s success in the World Cup. At the moment, that seems to be proving true.last_img read more

Trump Nominates Abbott Adviser Oldham To The 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals


first_imgJolie McCullough / The Texas TribuneThe John Minor Wisdom United States 5th Court of Appeals building in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Oct. 3, 2017.President Donald Trump has announced his third Texas pick for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Andrew Oldham, who currently serves as general counsel to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.Oldham was on the short list last year for what is arguably the nation’s most conservative appeals court, when the president had two long-standing Texas vacancies to fill. But Trump ultimately tapped former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas Solicitor General Jim Ho. Both Ho and Willett were confirmed to the bench in December.Oldham, who has been at his post in Abbott’s office for just over a month, previously served as deputy solicitor general for Texas. He moved into the general counsel post in January after Abbott nominated his former top lawyer, Jimmy Blacklock, to take Willett’s place on the state’s highest civil court.Abbott reportedly had unusual and outsized influence on the nomination process for federal judges, which is traditionally a process led by a state’s two U.S. senators. That party infighting seems to have delayed what was expected to be a relatively smooth nominations and confirmation process dominated by Republicans. “This is an excellent choice of a strict construction constitutionalist,” Abbott tweeted Monday afternoon. “I think he’s even better than [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch].”Oldham will require a positive vote out of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and then approval from the full Senate. If confirmed, he’ll take the place of Edward Prado, a longtime 5th Circuit judge who Trump named last month as his pick for U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. Sharelast_img read more

Signs of Movement on Marijuana Issue in Annapolis


first_imgMaryland could soon see a stronger marijuana decriminalization law. It seems well on the path to outright legalization (though perhaps not this session), if the tone of last week’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on a slate of marijuana bills is any indication.Senate Bill 456 establishes medical necessity as an affirmative defense against a marijuana possession charge and requires the court to dismiss the charges under these circumstances. Senate Bill 517 extends decriminalization to all amounts of marijuana, and Senate Bill 531 creates a legal marketplace for marijuana in Maryland. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee heard all three bills simultaneously on March 4.Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), chair of Judicial Proceedings and sponsor of the two of the bills, scheduled these items ahead of the 14 others to be heard that day, providing ample time for those who came to testify in marked contrast to the scheduling of the criminal justice bills heard earlier this session.Sara Love, public policy director for the ACLU Maryland, was first to testify in support of the bills. She noted that in 70 percent of searches conducted by police with smelling marijuana as the probable cause, no drugs were found, suggesting that the claim is often a pretense for search and seizure. By extension, Love argued, laws criminalizing the use or possession of marijuana have become a pretext for otherwise unconstitutional searches that have racially disparate impacts, necessitating the reform of such laws.Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) pushed Love on her claim, and asked, if in 30 percent of searches police did find drugs or worse, was it not worth preserving their ability to search. “We have a system in our society where police aren’t just allowed to go in [and search],” said Love. “Is it worth it if [police] search everybody’s houses if they find extra guns and drugs? No, because we have a system of justice. They have to have probable cause to believe that that person is breaking the law.”When Brochin continued asking if the search results indicated marijuana was a gateway to further illegal activity, Zirkin interrupted stating that Brochin’s teenage daughter, seated behind her father, was shaking her head in disagreement.The hearing room broke out in laughter, and a lightness of mood underscored the movement that has occurred on the issue of marijuana in Maryland. Though some senators expressed lingering skepticism about the growing body of research showing fewer deleterious effects of marijuana as compared to alcohol, no one forced that particular point.At one point, Sen. Bob Cassilly (R-Harford County) seemed interested in finding a way to address some of the social consequences marijuana laws have wrought on the state (labor issues related to drug convictions ), even if he would prefer the laws otherwise remain on the books.If opposition among the committee’s senators seemed tepid, support for the various measures from members of Judicial Proceedings was much more aggressive, with opposition testimony facing some strong headwinds.When Joseph Cassilly of the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office testified in opposition to legalization, Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), sponsor of the legalization bill, asked whether alcohol was more addictive than marijuana.“Look at the scientific studies,” said Cassilly. “I’m not going to give you my personal opinion.”“All the studies that have been forwarded to us have [found] that [alcohol] is far more addictive. It’s not even close,” Raskin replied.After Chief David Morris, as a representative of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, asserted that for every study supporters produced to bolster their claims, opponents could produce a study showing the opposite, Zirkin pounced.“Sen. [Christopher] Shank and I were looking last year high and low for any evidence that decriminalization – not legalization, but decriminalization – had any of the ill-effects that the chiefs stated at their press conference last year,” said Zirkin. “We found none. I mean literally zero, in any state that when they moved from a criminal sanction to a civil sanction, that there was any of the ill-effects that you’ve said. We asked for the evidence last year and we got nothing. Over the interim, we’ve gotten nothing. And at this point in time, I’ve still got nothing.”Zirkin then suggested Morris provide whatever data he had available, but the message seemed clear – this debate is guided by data, and the data strongly leans in the direction of passing, at the minimum, a stronger decriminalization bill.There was no real indication legalization will become a reality this session, but the legislative landscape seems to be tilting in that direction, with strong support, at least in Judicial Proceedings, for further movement away from the criminalization that has been the historic approach towards marijuana in Maryland. ralejandro@afro.comlast_img read more

Traffic goes haywire after container hits Chingrihata Flyover height guard


first_imgKolkata: Huge traffic congestion occurred on Eastern Metropolitan Bypass (E M Bypass) after a container carrier goods vehicle hit the height guard of Chingrihata Flyover on Thursday afternoon.Almost after 30 minutes, police succeeded to remove the container carrier. But till then, the tail of the congestion reached Tagore Park area on E M Bypass and above Gobinda Khatik Road on Maa Flyover.Locals said around 2:50 pm on Thursday a ten wheeler container carrier goods vehicle tried to avail Chingrihata Flyover. Though there were several signage boards and flexes put up by police saying no heavy vehicle is allowed on the Flyover — height barrier is in place. Despite the signage boards, the driver somehow failed to notice those. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe driver drove towards Chingrihata Flyover. As soon as the container carrier reached the approach road of the Flyover, it hit the height barrier at a good speed. Immediately, the height barrier came down on the vehicle damaging the driver’s cabin badly. The driver of the container carrier, Debashish Gupta, received severe mutiple injuries as a result. Police from Beliaghata Traffic Guard came and started the rescue operation.Sources informed that with the help of locals police managed to recover Gupta and admitted him to a private hospital near Kadapara. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to the police, his condition is very critical. Later almost after half an hour, the container carrier was removed from the accident spot using a heavy crane. The traffic situation remained messed up until it was moved. The Maa Flyover was packed with cars. Within 10 minutes, the traffic congestion reached Gobinda Khatik Road crossing on Maa Flyover. The North bound vehicles on E M Bypass got choked. The tail of the traffic congestion reached Tagore Park area near Ruby crossing. Sources said immediately traffic sergeants of Beliaghata and Tiljala traffic guards were deputed along E M Bypass to control the situation.It took almost two and a half hours to normalise the traffic. The vehicle has been handed over to Pragati Maidan Police Station for necessary action. Police are yet to obtain the details of the owner of the container carrier. He will be called as soon as the investigators get hold of the owner’s address and phone number.last_img read more