Women’s Sports Column 6-12 January 2018

soccer ballWelcome to this week’s column.  Apologies for the brevity of this week’s offering, but a bout of sickness has meant I’ve been a bit pushed for time.  Hopefully there’s enough here to keep you entertained.  Stories this week come from tennis, hockey, boxing, rugby union, cricket, football and sports politics.

So here we go.

Tennis

Australian Open

The draw for the first round of the Australian Open has been made and Jo Konta, fit again after pulling out of the Brisbane International, has a tough draw.  She faces American Madison Brengle, 92 in the world.

Heather Watson’s first opponent is Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan who, at 50, is ranked 24 places higher than Watson.

Naomi Broady is through the first round of qualifying, beating Kathinka von Deichmann of Liechtenstein 7-6 5-7 6-3.  She plays Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands in the next round and needs to win three to get through to the first round proper.

The tournament begins on Monday 15 January.

Hobart International

Heather Watson seems to be getting into her stride before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year.  She made it to the semi-finals of the Hobart International, losing to the 2017 champion and second seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-4 1-6 6-2.

Mertens will play Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine of Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in the final.

Boxing

Irish boxing star, Katie Taylor, will fight her first professional Dublin bout on 14 April.  It will be her second defence of her WBA World Lightweight title.

The venue is yet to be decided.

Football – off the pitch

Eni Aluko

The big news this week is that Eni Aluko is in discussion with Paris St-Germain over a possible transfer.  Aluko, 30, has five months left on her Chelsea contract.  PSG lie currently in the French division one behind Lyon.

Lionesses

Drew Spence has been recalled to the England squad for their 10-day training camp in Spain; it will be the first time she has been involved since the debacle with Mark Sampson last year.  The squad is preparing for the SheBelieves Cup in the US in March.  The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading), Carly Telford (Chelsea).

Defenders: Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Jess Carter (Birmingham City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Gilly Flaherty (Chelsea), Gabby George (Everton), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Reading), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Drew Spence (Chelsea), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Reading), Leah Williamson (Arsenal).

Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Melissa Lawley (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Melbourne City), Ellen White (Birmingham City).

Meanwhile, although we are assured by the FA that the search for the new England Head Coach is well underway, some of the best candidates are slipping through their fingers.  John Herdman, the Canadian women’s coach has just left his post, but has gone directly to take over the Canadian men’s team.   One name that is, apparently, in the hat, is that of Phil Neville.  As the current parlance would have it, I’ll just leave that here.

Football – on the pitch

FA Cup Fourth Round

After the excitement of last week’s third round, the fourth round draw has been made and this is where the WSL sides make their first appearance.  Ties will be played on Sunday 4 February.  There is one outstanding tie from the third round this Sunday (14 January) when Derby County take on Brighouse Town fourth round fixture away to Sunderland AFC.

The New Saints v Chichester City
Durham v Sheffield
Aston Villa v Middlesborough
Sunderland AFC v Derby County/Brighouse Town
Keynsham Town v Lewes
Tottenham Hotspur v Doncaster Rovers Belles
Liverpool v Watford
Cardiff City v Oxford United
Reading v Birmingham City
Plymouth Argyle v Leicester City
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers v Charlton Athletic
Yeovil Town v Arsenal
London Bees v Chelsea
Everton v Bristol City
Millwall Lionesses v Coventry United

For fixture times and venues please see the FA Website.

Rugby Union – off the pitch

Rugby Australia

Good news from Australia this week as it was announced that a deal between Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players’ Association means that its men’s and women’s sevens sides will be paid the same (at entry level), at least until 2020.

The fifteens team, the Walleroos, will be covered by the new deal and will receive payments for Tests for the first time.

There will be a new Pregnancy Policy to ensure players have the security to return to their contracts if they have children.

Rugby Union – on the pitch

There was one game in the Premier 15s last weekend:

Worcester Valkyries 7-38 Loughborough Lightning

We’re all-guns-blazing again this weekend with a full programme of fixtures:

Saturday 13 January

Wasps v DMP Sharks (2pm, Twyford Avenue Sports Ground)
Saracens v Worcester Valkyries (2pm, Allianz Park)
Harlequins v Loughborough Lightning (2pm, Surrey Sports Park)

Sunday 14 January

Richmond v Gloucester-Hartpury (2.30pm, Richmond Athletic Ground)

Cricket

WBBL latest scores:

6 January
Melbourne Renegades 142/6 (20 overs)
Melbourne Stars 145/3 (19 overs)
Stars won by 7 wickets

Jess Duffin top-scored for the Stars with 40, ably supported by Claire Koski, who finished 33 not out.  Erin Osborne took 2/14 from her four overs.  In response Georgia Elwiss scored 58 not out and Mignon du Preez 45 from 35 balls as the Stars took the game with an over to spare.

7 January
Hobart Hurricanes 111/4 (20 overs)
Brisbane Heat 114/2 (14.2 overs)
Heat won by 8 wickets

The Hurricanes’ total never looked like being enough.  Jess Jonassen took 2/17 off her four overs.  Beth Mooney scored an unbeaten 62 from 43 balls as the Heat got home easily.

Sydney Thunder 145/6 (20 overs)
Perth Scorchers 144/6 (20 overs)
Thunder won by 1 run

Scorchers needed three runs off the last ball, but as Mathilda Carmichael came back for the second, ‘keeper Rachel Priest took the ball and broke the bails, denying the second run and super over and claiming the win for the Thunder.  Earlier Priest had also top-scored with the bat with 42 from 32 balls.

But it was Rene Farrell who took the player of the match award for her dismissal of the two Scorchers openers.  She also effected the run out of Perth’s English batter Nat Sciver.

8 January
Brisbane Heat 168/4 (20 overs)
Hobart Hurricanes 126 all out (18.5 overs)
Heat won by 42 runs

Kirby Short starred for the Heat with 79 of 55 balls as they posted an excellent total.  In response the Hurricanes lost Hayley Matthews for just eight and after the top four had been dismissed, no-one else got into double figures.  All of the Heat’s seven bowlers, excepting bizarrely, Deandra Dottin, all picked up wickets to contribute to the win.

Sydney Thunder 134/4 (20 overs)
Perth Scorchers 136/2 (18.1 overs)
Scorchers won by 8 wickets

The Scorchers were back to winning ways on Monday as they beat the Thunder with nearly two overs to spare.  Alex Blackwell starred for the Thunder, scoring 81 off 58 balls, as their openers faltered with Priest bowled for a duck by the in-form Katherine Brunt.  Stafanie Taylor also contributed with 31.

Elyse Villani was run out early on for just nine for the Scorchers, but Nicole Bolton scored 28 and then England pair Nat Sciver and Brunt took it on, scoring 61 and 17 not out respectively to ensure the win.

9 January
Melbourne Stars 132/5 (20 overs)
Adelaide Strikers 134/9 (20 overs)
Strikers won by 1 wicket

Lizelle Lee top-scored for the Stars with 52 with Katie Mack backing up well with 42 from 32 balls

Although the Strikers all got starts, none went on to make a big score and with the Stars taking regular wickets it looked as if they had the game sewn up.

When the ninth wicket went on 129 with just two balls to go it was down to last recognised bat Tabitha Saville to score the winning runs.  Beams bowled a dot for the fifth ball but then committed the cardinal sin of bowling a no-ball on the sixth; one run for the no-ball and a free hit.  Saville tonked the free hit for four and the Strikers had won the game.

12 January
Melbourne Stars 133/3 (20 overs)
Brisbane Heat 134/5 (18.1 overs)
Heat won by 5 wickets

Beth Mooney is in fearsome form, as the Stars found to their cost on Friday.

Katie Mack put in her second big score of the week with 57 off 48 for the Stars with Mignon du Preez backing her up with 30.  Deandra Dottin took 2/13 off three overs for the Heat.

But there was no stopping Mooney.  She hit seven fours in an innings of 57 off just 38 balls.  She was ably supported by Jess Jonassen who scored 23 not out from 21 balls as the Heat won with nearly two overs to spare.

As it stands

Thunder are top with 12 points from 8 matches.  The Heat are second with the same number of points, but from nine matches.  They are followed by the Sixers and then the Strikers.  Hobart Hurricanes are still to get off the mark and are bottom with no points from eight games.

Hockey

Jaffa Super 6s Finals

The four qualifiers for Finals Day at the Copperbox Arena have been decided.  The men’s and women’s tournament will be played on Sunday 28 January and the semi-final line-up is as follows:

10.45 am – East Grinstead v Leicester
12 noon – Bowdon Hightown v Holcombe

The women’s final will be at 15.45pm.

Saudi Arabia

It’s finally happening.  Today women will watch a football match from inside the stadium – legally.

From now on, there will be areas for women fans in the grounds at Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.  There is a large female fanbase for men’s football in Saudi Arabia, but until now they have had to follow games on the television only.

The three grounds expect a big turnout at their first inclusive matches and also expect crowds to build over time.  Make no mistake, this is a significant step for sports-loving women in the country, and while we realise it’s a drop in the ocean compared to many indignities women have to suffer, it is, however, a very definite drop.

And finally,

Well done and commiserations to Ipswich Town Ladies in their third round FA Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic.  The Blues took the lead through Cassie Craddock in the second-half, but Charlton equalised and then took the lead.  Craddock was in again late on to take the game into extra time.  Charlton, top of the league above Ipswich, took their chances, scoring three during extra time to take the game 5-2.

 

Women’s Sports Column 24 March – 1 April 2017

CAYFS5MZWelcome to this week’s column.  I’m going to have to be brief about it, due to time pressures, but here goes.  Stories this week come from athletics, football, ice hockey, tennis, netball, curling, rugby union, squash and gymnastics.

Netball

It was round six of the Vitality Netball Superleague last weekend.  Storm and Lightning are still unbeaten at the top of the league on 18 points.  Results were as follows:

Friday 24 March

Team Bath 47-38 Team Northumbria

Wasps Netball 52-58 Manchester Thunder

Saturday 25 March

Surrey Storm 69-47 Celtic Dragons

Hertfordshire Mavericks 57-66 Loughborough Lightning

Monday 27 March

Severn Stars 54-45 Sirens

This weekend sees round seven with Sky’s televised match on Monday 3 April being Thunder v Mavericks.  The action starts at 7.30pm.

Tennis

Miami Open

Jo Konta has become the first British woman to get to the final of the Miami Open.

She beat Venus Williams 6-4 7-5 in the semi-final and will now play Caroline Wozniacki in the final on Saturday.

Wozniacki beat Karolina Pliskova 5-7 6-1 6-1.

If Konta takes the title she will rise to seven in the world rankings.

Rugby Union

Bristol finished unbeaten and at the top of the table in the Women’s Premiership.  The final round of matches finished as follows:

25 March 2017

Lichfield Ladies 48-0 Richmond Women

26 March 2017

Aylesford Bulls Ladies 44-17 Worcester Valkyries

DMP Sharks 5-21 Saracens Women

Bristol Ladies 48-7 Wasps Ladies

The unfortunate Lichfield played a marvellous final Premiership game and ended up second in the table, just one point behind Bristol.

Pos Team P W L PD BP Pts
1 Bristol Ladies 14 12 2 338 12 60
2 Lichfield Ladies 14 12 2 251 11 59
3 Aylesford Bulls Ladies 14 10 4 222 9 49
4 Saracens Women 14 9 5 158 10 46
5 Worcester Valkyries 14 6 8 -22 7 31
6 Richmond Women 14 3 11 -274 5 17
7 Wasps Ladies 14 2 12 -375 5 13
8 DMP Sharks 14 2 12 -298 4 12

The play offs will be on 9 April:

12pm Portway Rugby Development Centre

Bristol v Saracens

1pm Cleve RFC

Lichfield v Aylesford Bulls

The Grand Final will be on 23 April at 12pm.

Curling

Team Muirhead were at it again this week as Scotland took bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championships.

They beat Sweden 6-4 to take the medal, while the gold went to Canada as they defeated Russia 8-3 in the final.

Gymnastics

It was the British Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool last week.

Ellie Downie just gets better and better, taking vault, bars and all-round gold medals.

Phoebe Turner won gold on the beam.

There was a surprise result in the floor when the title went to 15-year old newcomer Maisie Methuen, beating Claudia Fragapane into silver.

Football

Women’s Champions League quarter finals

Manchester City Women 1-0 Fortuna Hjorring

City win 2-0 on aggregate.

It was a tight affair at the Academy Stadium and became clear early on that it was unlikely to be a goalfest.  In the end City made one of their few chances pay when Lucy Bronze headed home from a Mel Lawler corner just before half-time.  US star Carli Lloyd has a great chance earlier in the half after speeding through the Danish defence, but she hit it wide.  In the second half she was quieter but had a header cleared five minutes from the end.

In the other games:

Lyon 0-1 Wolfsburg

(Lyon win 2-1 on aggregate)

Paris Saint Germain 4-0 Bayern Munich

(PSG win 4-1 on aggregate)

Barcelona 2-0 Rosengård

(Barcelona win 3-0 on aggregate)

City play cup holders Lyon in the semi-final.

FA Cup quarter finals

Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland

Sunderland took the lead through a Lucy Staniforth penalty, but after that it was all Chelsea.  Two goals from Ramona Bachmann and two from Hannah Blundell plus one from Drew Spence saw Chelsea into the semis.

Liverpool 2-0 Notts County

The home side were two up before half-time, with County unable to respond.  Caroline Weir scored in the third minute with Natasha Harding hitting a second before the break.

The Lady Pies were unable to break down the Liverpool defence in the second half.

Birmingham City 1-0 Arsenal

The holders went out to a single goal from Marisa Ewers.  After a goalless first-half the winning strike came in the 77th minute after Arsenal had missed several chances.

Birmingham goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger had a stormer, saving from Kim Little, Danielle Carer and Danielle van de Donk in the first-half and Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs in the second.

 Bristol City 1-2 Manchester City

Bristol took the lead as Hayley Ladd headed an unfortunate own goal, but by half-time Manchester were level through Claire Emslie.

Nikita Parris hit the winner just before full-time, when it seemed likely the tie was heading into extra time.

FA Cup Semi-final draw

Manchester City v Liverpool

Birmingham City v Chelsea

Both ties should take place on Monday 17 April.

Athletics

Jo Pavey has been awarded a bronze medal from the 10,000m at the 2007 World Championships, after the original second-place finisher, Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegasse was stripped of her title for a doping offence.  American Kara Goucher has been upgraded to silver and Pavey to bronze.

Squash

Laura Massaro won her second British Open title this week when she beat fellow English woman 11-8 11-8 6-11 11-6.

In doing so she became the first English woman for 66 years to win two British Open titles, having first won it in 2013.

Ice Hockey

Three cheers for the US women’s ice hockey team this week.  They were so fed up over the lack of equality with the men’s game that they threatened to boycott their own world championships in protest.

Just two days before the championships were due to begin they called off the protest as it was announced an agreement with USA Hockey had been reached.

The fine details have not been released but are thought to include a new improved pay deal plus better marketing and promotion from the governing body.  There will also be more support for women’s hockey at grassroots level.

Badminton

India Open

Britain’s Chris and Gabby Adcock are through to the quarter-finals of the India Open.  They beat Yang Lee and Hsu Ya Ching of Taiwan 23-21 22-20 to get there.

They face Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai of Thailand in the next round.

But Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are out of the mixed doubles and Smith and Sarah Walker out of the women’s doubles.

And finally,

A quick tribute to Hazel Irvine, who has announced that she will anchor the BBC’s Masters coverage for the last time in April 2017.

Irvine was a real trailblazer for broadcasting women, particularly in sports considered traditionally “male”.  She has fronted the BBC’s golf broadcasts for 25 years.

I’m a big admirer of Hazel’s.  She is understated, intelligent and knowledgeable, but doesn’t ram her knowledge down the viewer’s throat.

Glad to say she will continue to present the snooker and other major events.

And I’m also pleased to say that Eilidh Barbour will take over in the golf hot seat, and will start with the PGA Championship in May.

Women’s Sports Column 18-24 February 2017

cricket-ballWelcome to this week’s somewhat shortened column.  Apologies for the brevity of the reports, but hopefully you will still find something to interest you.  Stories from netball, football, cricket, and rugby union.  On form again with an “And finally” that takes us back to the Stone Age.

Netball

The new Superleague season began last weekend.  The scores were:

Friday 17 February

Hertfordshire Mavericks 53-48 Team Northumbria

Saturday 18 February

Celtic Dragons 41-51 Team Bath

Loughborough Lightning 59-45 Manchester Thunder

Surrey Storm 58-50 Severn Stars

Tuesday 21 February

Sirens 43-57 Wasps Netball

This weekend sees a “Super Ten” event with all teams playing at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.  From 4pm on Saturday you can watch three games live on Sky Sports.

Cricket

World Cup Qualifying Tournament

The qualifying tournament has now concluded with India coming out on top and the four teams to qualify for this summer’s World Cup being India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

At the point of reporting last week there were still three Super Six matches to be concluded before the final.  These went as follows:

Sunday 19 February
India 70/3 (22.3 overs)
Pakistan 67 all out (43.4 overs)

Pakistan collapsed to 67 all out with only two players making it into double figures; Ayesha Zafar made 19 and Bismah Maroof 13.  The Indian star bowler, not for the first time was Ekta Bisht who took 5 for a miserly 8 runs off her 10 overs.

India made light work of the chase.  DB Sharma top scored with 29 and Harmanpreet Kaur 24 as they sailed home easily in under half the allotted overs.

Sri Lanka 197/9 (50 overs)
 Bangladesh 68/5 (21 out of 21 overs)
Sri Lanka won by 42 runs via the D/L method

Jayangani top scored with 84 for Sri Lanka as they posted an impressive score batting first.  But the game was affected badly by rain and reduced to just 21 overs.  The revised total of 111 was too tough an ask for Bangladesh who made only 68.  Nigar Sultana made 24 and Shaila Sharmin 21 not out, but they never kept up with the required run rate.

Ireland 166 all out (49.5 overs)
South Africa 82/1 (21 out of 21 overs)
South Africa won by 36 runs via the D/L method

The third game of the day was also curtailed due to rain.  Ireland batted first and made a decent total with good contributions from Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Gaby Lewis and Mary Waldron.

But the revised total of 47 from 21 overs was easily knocked off by South Africa for the loss of only Lee for 14.

The final, which took place on Tuesday 21 February, went to the wire.

India 245/9 (50 overs)
South Africa 244 all out (49.4 overs)
India won by 1 wicket

South Africa must have thought they had done enough to win it.  The top eight all made excellent contributions with Mignon du Preez 40,Lizelle Lee and Dane van Niekerk 37 apiece and Sune Luus 35.

But India were not to be beaten.  After fine knocks from Mona Meshram (59) and Deepti Sharma (71), Harmanpreet Kaur made a standout 41.  India needed nine to win off the last over, to be bowled by Marcia Letsoalo.  They ran one on the first ball but Yadav was run out going for a suicidal second.   There were then three dot balls and India needed eight off the last two balls.  On the fifth ball of the over Kaur launched Letsoalo for six.  Kaur then took two off the last ball to win the match by one wicket.

Australia v New Zealand

Meanwhile in Australia, two World Cup favourites have been warming up in a keenly fought three match T20 series.

1st T20, 17 February
Australia 151/4 (20 overs)
New Zealand 111/8 (20 overs)
Australia won by 40 runs

Elyse Villani scored 73 not out and captain Meg Lanning 60 as Australia posted a decent total of 151.

New Zealand made a good start to their response, but lost wickets at regular intervals and fell short in their chase.  Amy Satterthwaite was 40 not out for the White Ferns.   Amanda-Jade Wellington took three wickets for 15 from her four overs.

2nd T20, 19 February
New Zealand 101/9 (20 overs)
Australia 61/9 (13 overs – target revised to 70 from 13)
New Zealand won by 8 runs via D/L method

Australia would have been confident of chasing down 102 in 20, but in the end a rain-affected game meant they had to chase 70 from 13.

New Zealand got off to a good start with the top three into double figures.  But they subsided after Suzie Bates was out for 30 in the fifteenth over, with the score on 76.  In the end they posted a low 101.

Australia got off to a bad start and were three down for just 28 in the sixth over.  Anna Peterson then took three wickets in one over to rip the heart out of the Australian innings and New Zealand had drawn level in the series.

3rd T20, 22 February
New Zealand 113/8 (20 overs)
Australia 66 all out (16 overs)
New Zealand won by 47 runs

An unusual and catastrophic collapse by the Southern Stars saw New Zealand take the series 2-1 in Adelaide.

The away side batted first and made 113.  Top scorer was Suzie Bates with 31 and there were good contributions from Rachel Priest (17) and Amy Satterthwaite (18).  Wellington was again pick of the Aussie bowlers with figures of four for 16 from her four overs.

But Australia were in trouble for the off – slumping to nine for five in the fifth over.  There was some resistance from Healy and Blackwell, but with little support they had no chance and New Zealand had secured an historic series win.

Rugby Union

The Six Nations returns this week:

24 February 6.20pm
Broadwood Stadium

Scotland v Wales
Broadcast on S4C and BBC Wales

25 February 1pm
The Stoop

England v Italy
Broadcast on Sky and Eurosport IT

26 February 12.45pm
Donnybrook, Dublin

Ireland v France
Broadcast on RTE/France 4

Football

England

Mark Sampson has announced his squad for the She Believes Cup, which will begins on March 1 with England v France.  There is a surprise recall for former captain Casey Stoney.

The squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading)

Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Liverpool), Demi Stokes (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal)

Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Notts County), Ellen White (Birmingham City).

FA Cup

Meanwhile it was an exciting weekend in the SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round

Coventry Ladies 0-1 Aston Villa Ladies
Durham Women 2-2 Everton Ladies
Everton win 4-3 on penalties
Millwall Lionesses 3-1 Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Ladies 0-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Tottenham Ladies 1-0 Brighton Ladies
West Bromwich Albion Women 2-1 Leicester City Ladies

The fifth round sees the entrance of the big guns and the draw has thrown up some mouthwatering ties, including three derbies; on Merseyside, in the West Midland and North London.

The draw in full:

Notts County Ladies v Yeovil Town Ladies
Liverpool Ladies v Everton Ladies
Arsenal Ladies v Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
Sunderland Ladies v Aston Villa Ladies
Birmingham City Ladies v West Bromwich Albion Women
Bristol City Women v Millwall Lionesses
Manchester City Women v Reading Women
Chelsea Ladies v Doncaster Rovers Belles

FIFA

In a surprise move, Director of Women’s Football, Tatjana Haenni has been sacked from her post.  Haenni had held the position for 18 years.

In a statement FIFA said that the decision was based on organisational restructure.

Haenni has also released a statement:

“At the end of January, FIFA dismissed me, ended the employment contract and released me as soon as possible.

“I look back on 18 interesting, motivating, fascinating years in international women’s football. I have done my work and my activities with full commitment, conviction for the cause and with a lot of passion.

“For the future, I would like all sports organizations to make efforts to promote women’s sports and the representation of women in the decision-making committees and to make available adequate resources.”

Colombian Football

Another good news story in the world of women’s football this week as a new professional women’s league gets underway.

There will be 18 teams with three round-robin groups of six and each team will play home and away.

At the end of the round-robin stage the top two from each group and the two best third-placed teams will compete in quarter-finals.

The overall winner will represent Colombia in the Copa Libertadores.

Group A: Real Cartagena, Petrolera, R. Santander, Union Magdalena, Bucaramanga, Envigado.
Group B: Equidad, Santa Fe, Patriotas, Atletico Huila, Cucuta, Fortaleza.
Group C: Pasto, Cortulua, Pereira, Quindio, Orsomarso, America.

And Finally

And finally, just when you thought Australia had women’s sport in the bag (cricketing pregnancy clauses not withstanding), we revert to the Stone Age.

A boxing promoter on the Gold Coast is planning to hold two bouts of “lingerie boxing” in a boxing card at Surfers Paradise next week.  Surprisingly this will not be a professional bout, but seemingly between two women unused to the sport and are being trained especially for the fight.

As usual I’ll leave you all to draw your own conclusions and let you fume in the privacy of your own homes.  But it’s just another case of two steps forward, one back for women’s sport.

Mind you the same promoter is the man who also brought Australia the delights of “midget” boxing in 2008. Say no more.