Welcome to this week’s column. Plenty to get through again this week including tennis, the unfathomable workings of FIFA, cricket, football, Ice hockey, the Women’s Sports Trust “Be a Game Changer” Awards and netball. Plus a link to an excellent piece about women (or the lack of) in F1 and an “And Finally” which can be put in the category of “Am I surprised”….
So let’s crack on.
British number one, Johanna Konta lost in the first round of the Madrid Open this week. She was beaten by in-form German Laura Siegemund, 3-6 7-6 6-4.
She was 3-0 up in the third set but Siegemund then took five games in a row to take control, and, eventually, the match.
Bouchard v Sharapova
For many the match they were waiting for came in the second round. Eugenie Bouchard’s much publicised comment about Maria Sharapova being a “cheater” may as well have been posted in large letters above the court when this match took place.
Afterwards Bouchard said she was “motivated” to play well.
The match took three hours and Bouchard was finally triumphant 7-5 2-6 6-4.
Bouchard v Kerber
The third round match-up between Bouchard and Kerber looked to be even more mouth-watering, but the anticipated battle was not to be. Kerber was suffering with an injury, later to be revealed as a thigh strain and the match ended with Kerber withdrawing at 6-3 5-0 down.
The quarter-final line-up is as follows:
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) v Simona Halep (Rou) 
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN ) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 
Kiki Bertens (NED) v Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)  v Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
Loughborough Lightning have managed to dispel my commentator’s curse to become the first side to qualify for the “Final Four” event on 10-11 June in Manchester. Lightning won again at the weekend and as Wasps lost surprisingly to Team Bath, the gap is now six points at the top of the table. Lightning are top with 39, Wasps in second 33, Thunder in third also with 33 and Surrey Storm currently lie fourth with 24. There are still places up for grabs with four rounds to go.
Round 14 results
Friday 5 May
Team Northumbria 60-48 Celtic Dragons
Saturday 6 May
Hertfordshire Mavericks 47-60 Sirens
Surrey Storm 52-59 Loughborough Lightning
Severn Stars 42-63 Manchester Thunder
Monday 8 May
Team Bath 55-53 Wasps Netball
Round 15 sees all the teams playing on Monday 15 May with the live game on Sky being the league leaders, Loughborough Lightning against Hertfordshire Mavericks with coverage starting at 7.30pm.
Round 15 fixtures:
Team Northumbria v Team Bath
Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm
Sirens v Severn Stars
Manchester Thunder v Wasps Netball
Loughborough Lightning v Hertfordshire Mavericks
There is a quadrangular series going on in South Africa as a warm-up for the World Cup, which takes place in June-July. The teams involved are the hosts, South Africa, India, Zimbabwe and Ireland.
India have been the standout team so far having won all of their three games. In doing so Indian fast bowler Jhulan Goswami became the highest wicket taker in women’s ODIs with 181.
Here are the results so far:
Zimbabwe 78 all out (26.5 overs)
South Africa 79/2 (11.4 overs0
South Africa won by 8 wickets
Ireland 96 all out (44.4 overs)
India 99/0 (18.4 overs)
India won by 10 wickets
South Africa 119 all out (39.3 overs)
India 121/3 (41.2 overs)
India won by 7 wickets
Ireland 209 all out (46.1 overs)
Zimbabwe 211/4 (47 overs)
Zimbabwe won by 6 wickets
South Africa 337/5 (50 overs)
Ireland 159/8 (50 overs)
South Africa won by 178 runs
Zimbabwe 93 all out (38.4 overs)
India 94/1 (18.3 overs)
India won by 9 wickets
Women’s Sports Trust #Be a Game Changer Awards
The awards were held on 11 May and the winners were:
Dame Sarah Storey (Sporting Role Model – individual)
GB Hockey – (Sporting Role Model -team)
Kelly Simmons (Ambassador of Women’s Sport)
Vitality (Sponsor Partnership of the Year)
British Triathlon (NGB of the Year)
1000 Londoners (Imagery of the Year)
Hannah Bailey (Photographer/filmmaker of the Year)
This Mum Runs (Inspiring Initiative – local)
Youth Sport Trust – Girls Active (Inspiring Initiative – national)
Red Roses (Media Initiative)
Eleanor Oldroyd (Media Individual)
Jointly Kate Richardson-Walsh and Charlotte Edwards (Outstanding Contribution to women’s sport)
North American Sport
This story has been doing the rounds widely this week, but is another example of how women are short-changed in sport, not only as athletes or journalists, administrators or officials, but also as fans.
The Edmonton Oilers ice hockey team are through to the Stanley Cup playoffs. In their wisdom they have, in deference to their male supporters, changed two women’s bathrooms into men’s to ensure that men don’t have to wait in a queue any longer than is absolutely necessary.
The women, of course, who apparently now have to wait up to half an hour to “go” don’t count.
Probably every woman I know will have a “standing in a toilet queue” tale of woe. They will by no means be all related to sport, but certainly any woman who has read the story this week will be neither surprised nor impressed.
The club has said that significantly more men than women are attending the playoffs, but have yet to provide any factual evidence of this.
Meanwhile, the Oilers’ female fans will either have to cross their legs or miss the action.
Off the Pitch
Scotland head coach Anna Signeul has been appointed to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) advisory panel.
The IFAB comprises representatives of the four British football associations, which have one vote each and FIFA, which has four votes.
The Advisory panel consists of coaches, managers, referees and former players from all over the world and acts as the decision-making body for the Laws of the Game.
It never ceases to amaze me just how totally ridiculous a governing body FIFA is. I know I’m not alone in this view, but it bears repeating. And this tends to extend to the member confederations too.
This week the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had to elect a member to the FIFA Council seat reserved for a woman. They had an outstanding, and I mean outstanding, candidate in Australian Moya Dodd. So Dodd was elected? Not a hope.
Let’s just take a moment to consider Moya Dodd. She chaired the FIFA Women’s Football Taskforce, she has constantly and consistently championed women’s football -its development and its potential for investment and sponsorship. She has over thirty years of experience as a former player, in law and in business. She was co-opted on to the Executive Committee of FIFA in 2013.
The AFC Congress voted 27-17 to elect the head of the Bangladesh Football Federation Women’s Committee, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron.
There are six posts for women in the 37-strong council. These women need to be knowledgeable, confident and able to contribute. Let’s face it; they probably need to be much more of all of these things than the men – just to get heard.
Kiron is little-known outside Bangladesh and was unable to name the women’s World Cup champions when asked at an interview. In February she apparently barred the Bangladesh women’s team from speaking to the media because they were publishing negative stories. In response Bangladeshi journalists boycotted a press conference held to publicise the team’s participation in a tournament in Singapore, refusing to cover the story if Kiron was there.
There has been much comment about the appointment in the press with current and former players, administrators and football journalists all decrying the decision.
Obviously we will have to see what happens during Kiron’s tenure, and she shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, but if I were Moya Dodd I would be wondering how on earth I had missed out.
The England women’s team will play Denmark in their final warm up match before the Euros. They will play at the Gladsaxe Stadium in Copenhagen on Saturday 1 July, kicking off at 6pm BST.
On the Pitch
Women’s Under 17s Euros
The Women’s Under 17s Euros have been taking place in the Czech Republic over the last fortnight.
The semi-finals were played on 11 May:
Netherlands 0-2 Spain
Germany 1-1 Norway
Germany win 3-2 on penalties)
The final between Spain and Germany, the fourth such match-up in ten tournaments, will be on 14 May.
England had a mixed time of it, winning their first group game 5-0 against the Republic of Ireland, but losing the other two to the Netherlands (1-2) and Norway (0-2).
Liverpool Ladies are the early leaders in the Spring Series with three wins from four. They are top by three points on 10 with current Super League champions Manchester City lying second on seven points from three matches. Chelsea are third after playing only two games with six points. Yeovil are bottom having yet to score a point from four matches.
At the risk of losing readers, I’d also like to point you in the direction of the WSL website, which is excellent. They sometimes miss out a few details, but there’s always a report of each match published in good time. Check it out: fawsl.com
Saturday 6 May
Sunderland AFC Ladies 1-0 Bristol City Women
Sunderland claimed their first win of the Series on Saturday. After a tight first-half there was little to choose between the teams.
In the second-half there were long-distance shots from both sides, but the game was settled 14 minutes from time when Hayley Ladd committed a foul tackle in the box and Lucy Staniforth stepped up to score the resultant penalty.
Sunday 7 May
Birmingham City Ladies 0-2 Liverpool Ladies
Not the ideal confidence booster ahead of Birmingham’s FA Cup Final appearance this Saturday as they sank to a home defeat against early league pace-setters, Liverpool Ladies.
Ex Lady-Pie Jess Clarke was on target for the visitors in the 48th minute as Alex Greenwood crossed for her to head past Ann-Katrin Berger to give Liverpool the lead.
The win was sealed nine minutes from time when Gemma Bonner fired home from close range.
Reading FC Women 2-3 Manchester City Women
Reading thought they had the WSL1 champions beaten at Adams Park on Sunday, but they reckoned without the tenacity that won City the title last year
The visitors took the lead through Nikita Parris after just six minutes and this lead lasted until the 59th minute when Jade Moore equalised with a 20-yard shot that flew into the top corner.
The home side went ahead in the 74th minute with a penalty from Lauren Bruton, but the lead lasted just two minutes before Parris grabbed her second from a Megan Campbell long throw. Campbell is fast becoming famous (or infamous) for this throw and she was in the action again two minutes later as she fired over another for Jill Scott to latch on to and put away to claim the points.
Yeovil Town Ladies 1-5 Arsenal Ladies FC
Yeovil took a hammering against Arsenal as the Gunners claimed their first win of the Spring Series.
The away side took the lead in the seventh minute with a penalty from Jodie Taylor after the ball was handled in the box.
Two minutes later the lead was doubled as Yeovil defender Molly Clark put the ball into her own net.
On 24 minutes Taylor grabbed her second and on 31 the on-form Danielle Carter got Arsenal’s fourth on and the game was effectively over.
Lucy Quinn pulled one back for the Lady Glovers just before half-time, but they went in 1-4 down.
In the second-half Heather O’Reilly scored a penalty for Arsenal to take the score to 1-5.
Tuesday 9 May
Bristol City Women 0-3 Manchester City Women
Toni Duggan completed an impressive 18-minute hat-trick to see Manchester City take their second away win in a week.
She got her first two minutes before half-time, from a Nikita Parris cross.
In the second-half she scored on 51 and 57 minutes, the first from the penalty spot and the second after being put through by Parris again.
FA Cup Final
It’s the FA Cup Final this weekend between Birmingham City Ladies and Manchester City Women. The BBC is showing it live on BBC2 and the BBC website with updates on Radio 5 Live. Kick-off is 5.15pm. Should be a good one, if the Spring Series game last week is anything to go by.
I picked up on a rather good piece about the barriers to women in formula One. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it for yourself: sidepodcast.com
Here’s a funny little anecdote that may, or may not, have you raising an eyebrow. Apparently, former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has said he is “not comfortable” being interviewed by a female reporter – not a particular one, you understand, just women in general.
This all came out before the launch of his boxing academy in Dubai and was revealed by a spokesperson for the Dubai agency that represents him. It was told to Arabian Business which was planning to interview him about the launch. They were told that if they sent a female reporter the interview would be cancelled.
Since the revelation, both the agency and Tyson himself have tried to deflect interest in the “story” and have refused all further requests for comment.
I wasn’t there to hear either side, but sadly it’s all too easy to believe. Just because we don’t hear this every day, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen. And while it does, women sports reporters will always be in the shadow of their male colleagues – commissioning editors will always have to consider who they are going to send to a story not just because of their capabilities, but also possibly because of their gender.