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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Spain’s World Cup-winning rebels report for training under sanctions threat

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 Spain women's soccer team leave their hotel - Hotel Madrid Alameda Aeropuerto, Madrid, Spain - September 19, 2023 Spain's Teresa Abelleira and Olga Carmona are seen leaving their hotel REUTERS/Isabel Infantes

Some of the rebel players from Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s squad who had threatened to boycott the national team in a push to stamp out sexism at the football federation (RFEF) on Tuesday reported for training under the threat of being sanctioned.

Misa Rodriguez, Olga Carmona, Oihane Hernandez, Eva Navarro and Tere Abelleira, who had previously said they would not play for the team until further changes were applied at the Spanish football federation (RFEF), arrived at a hotel near Madrid’s airport and were seen departing by coach for the airport to travel for a training camp near Valencia.

The five were named in the squad ahead of a Women’s Nations League match against Sweden on Friday by new coach Montse Tome despite signing a statement last week calling for more heads to roll at the RFEF beyond former President Luis Rubiales and former manager Jorge Vilda.

Jenni Hermoso, the player at the centre of the scandal after Rubiales grabbed her head and kissed her on her lips, sparking fury over sexist attitudes toward women footballers, on Monday accused the RFEF of trying to divide and manipulate the players.

She said they did this by threatening them with legal and economic consequences if they refused to play.

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Should they refuse the call-up, the players could face fines of up 30,000 euros ($32,000) and the suspension of their federation licence for two to 15 years, according to Spain’s Sports Act.

Two sources close to players said they were expecting the whole squad to report in view of the threat of sanctions.

Asked as she arrived at the hotel whether she was happy to have been selected for the team, Misa Rodriguez replied: “No.”

Players including Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas on Monday shared a statement on social media platform X that said the players had told the RFEF they did not want to be considered for selection and that they were “studying the possible legal consequences we are exposed to by the RFEF by putting us on a list to which we had asked not to be selected.”

Hermoso was not on the squad list announced by new coach Montse Tome on Monday, which included 15 of the 23 cup-winning players.

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Twenty of those on Monday’s squad list had signed a statement on Friday saying they were not satisfied with the departure of Rubiales and coach Vilda and called for more sackings at the federation.

Hermoso, who according to Tome was not selected in order to protect her, on Monday offered her support to teammates “who have been caught by surprise and forced to react to another unfortunate situation caused by the people who continue to make decisions within the RFEF.”

Victor Francos, head of the state-run national sports agency, said on Monday the government would have no option but to apply the sanctions as stipulated in the law.

“If the players do not show up, the government must apply the law. I’m sorry to say so, but we must do what we have to do,” Francos told SER radio station.

Spain is set to make its debut in the Women’s Nations League against Sweden in Gothenburg on Friday before playing against Switzerland in Cordoba on Sept. 26. The Nations League will determine which teams from Europe qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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The government supports the players’ push for changes in the RFEF but also wants Spain to qualify for the Olympic Games, spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez said in a press conference on Tuesday.

“We want there to be changes, for them to be quick, for the confidence of the players to be restored and, most importantly, what we want is to see them play and see them win,” Rodriguez said.

-Reuters

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Two Nigerian women’s clubs get financial boost from FIFA

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Following the record-setting FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, 1,041 clubs from 48 FIFA Member Associations across all six confederations are to receive a share of the revenue for the release of players who participated in the tournament.

Going by the final list of players submitted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the tournament, two domestic club sides, Abia Angels and Rivers Angels will profit from the $11 million largess.

The funds have been made available via FIFA’s Club Benefits Programme (CBP), which was introduced ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 to recognise the fundamental role that clubs play in developing players. The total amount committed to clubs that released and/or trained the stars of women’s football rose to USD 11.3m for the 2023 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ from USD 8.48m four years earlier.

Nearly two million fans at the tournament’s ten stadiums – and two billion following around the world – witnessed a new standard of women’s football at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and now the clubs that played integral roles in shaping the talents of all 736 players at the tournament are to be rewarded.

“Strong clubs are crucial to the growth of women’s football, so distributing funding to over 1,000 clubs that have been instrumental in developing the world’s top female footballers is just one way that FIFA can offer its support,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino yesterday.

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“What’s truly unique about this programme is that FIFA does not only reward the clubs that released the players for the tournament but also the clubs that have contributed to each player’s development between the ages of 12 and 22.

This development also means that most of the players who began their careers in Nigeria before their sojourn overseas will benefit from the gesture from the world football body.

“This model ensures that crucial funding as well as the incentive for clubs to provide the best possible training and environment for female talent – reaches every part of the global football ecosystem, benefiting grassroots and professional clubs.”

The number of clubs that were identified by FIFA as eligible to receive payments via the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 CBP increased by 219 clubs from 822 in 2019 to 1,041 in 2023. Positively, the number of clubs across FIFA’s Member Associations also increased from 39 in 2019 to 48 in 2023.

Each club’s share has been determined by the role that they played in a player’s development or participation in the tournament, either as a releasing club, a training club, or both.

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Each eligible releasing club will receive an equal amount per player per day at the tournament, counting from the beginning of the release period (10 July 2023) and finishing the day following the last match of the player’s national team at the tournament.

Each training club will receive an amount based on the number of training periods the player spent at the club between ages 12 and 22, with each year consisting of a maximum of two training periods. The number of days that the player spent at the tournament is also factored in, however, the number of minutes played by a player in any given match at the tournament is irrelevant, with all players treated equally based on the number of days that they were at the tournament.

In the 1,043 clubs, UEFA dominated in numbers with 581 Asia Federation was next with 151 clubs while CONCACAF was next with 108  just as COMEBOL followed with 95 and then CAF with 76 clubs and Oceania Federation took the rear with just 30 clubs.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifiers draw holds on Wednesday

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The 2024-2025 women’s interclub football season will officially kick off on Wednesday, 24 July, with the draw for the CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers in 4 zones: UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU B and CECAFA.

The draw will be conducted at 10:00 GMTat the CAF Headquarters in Egypt and live-streamed on CAF TV and CAFOnline.com. 

Below are the teams entered by zone and the dates of the qualifying tournaments:

WAFU B (10 – 23 August): Ainonvi FC (Benin), Hasaacas Ladies (Ghana), Inter d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), AO Étincelles OU USFA (Burkina Faso), AS Garde Nationale (Niger), Edo Queens (Nigeria), ASKO de Kara (Togo).

UNAF (21 – 31 August): CF Akbou (Algeria), Tutankhamun (Egypt), AS Far (Morocco), ASF Sousse (Tunisia)

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CECAFA (17 August – 4 September): PVP Buyenzi (Burundi), FAD (Djibouti), CBE FC (Ethiopia), Kenya Police Bullets (Kenya), Kawempe Muslim (Uganda), Rayon Sports (Rwanda), Yei Joint Stars (South Sudan), Simba Queens (Tanzania), Warriors Queens (Zanzibar)

UNIFFAC (16 – 24 August): Lekié FF (Cameroon), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Atlético de Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), CSM Diables Noirs (Congo)

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

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Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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