All posts by AliciaLauren

I am a 20 year old University Student studying Football Business and Marketing. I aspire to become heavily involved in the advancement of the Women’s game.

Are Ultras in the Women’s game becoming more prominent?

With the recent events taking place at the Champions League game involving Chelsea Ladies and PSG Ladies, it is clear that football ultras are becoming active in the rise of the women’s game.

The question is, is this good for our development?

The second leg took place at the Stade Jean Bouin, whereby middle-aged men, shirtless and chanting as loud as they could attended the game, with the pride for their city shining through. Ultras at a women’s game is something which is a rarity, especially in England, however, it is clear that the support is on the rise looking at the quarter final game on Wednesday. The game is clearly gaining significant momentum around the world.

The stadium holds 20,000 people and less than half the stadium was full. This is an area which clearly needs work but it is easy to say, the fans of PSG were loud enough to convince anyone that the stadium was packed. The part of the stadium that was full included a diverse range of fans, going from young boys and girls to shirtless chanting men, all there to support their team. PSG were trailing behind by 2 goals and therefore they needed their fans to rally behind them and try to revive their quest to further their progress in the continental showpiece.

In the stadium, it appeared that the game was no longer the focus of the game and it was in fact taken over by a large group of PSG supporters chanting un-relentlessly. The group of self identifying ‘Collectif Ultras Paris’ expressed their discontent with the treatment they experienced at the first leg, when fans were removed due to finding illegal substances and weapons. They used banners and chants which were based on the fact they felt they were being ‘deprived of their freedom’ to express their anger with Chelsea ladies security. Aside from this, the chants motivated the PSG ladies team by explaining their greatness and talent in self-written eulogy chants.

Banners being held at PSG Women’s game which reads ‘Treated as Criminals’. Photo credit: Frank Fife/AFP

Ultras seem to be an issue more in other parts of Europe’s leagues, whereas England have tackled it successfully. These CUP ultras have been banned from multiple men’s games, however, it didn’t stop them from attending matches in general, meaning that they were more than welcome at the Jean Bouin, giving them a new lease on life and the opportunity to rally behind the ladies and more specifically the team they support.

Although PSG ladies are now out of the Champions League, alongside the men, the CUP were not deterred from future games. They saw the ladies show passion and class in all that they did, creating multiple chances and scoring 2 goals to take the aggregate score to 2-3 Chelsea, the support seemed to work, just not enough.

Are ultras going to be a new thing to women’s football? What effect do you think they will have? All I can say is from this game in particular, it showed the power that support can have on the teams performance and PSG can proudly boast about their loyal fan base. In my opinion I think these passionate fans will help develop the game. An experience I had at an FC United Women’s game really inspired me and filled me with confidence that the support was there. Although I wouldn’t class them as Ultras, they were clearly devoted fans whom loved their team. Chants were sang for each individual player and attractive banners were held on the sideline to rally on the girls.

This is what I like to see, let’s keep this up and keep expanding our fan base loyalty!

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Yeovil’s struggles continue as they go into Administration

Today is a sad day for Yeovil Ladies as they are set to go into administration and have addressed the fact that they ‘recognise’ they will not be a Women’s Super League team next season.

Yeovil ladies have sadly gone into administration and face a 10 point deduction. Photo credit: BBC

The Football Association have confirmed that the bottom of the table team will have 10 points deducted from them with immediate effect. Yeovil became a full time professional club last year, however there have been multiple issues along the way. They have already made cuts to staff and have therefore realised it may be within their best interest to go back to the part-time title.

There are 5 games left for the Yeovil this season and with the deduction it will be virtually impossible to remain in the Super League as they will stand at -6 points, making them 15 points from safety. It is clear that the club have recognised the financial difficulties that they face and have had to accept the sporting sanctions which the FA have imposed upon them.

The club told BBC: “Through the commitment of the directors, others and the support of the FA, who have been able to advance next years funding to us early, the club is pleased to announce that it will compete all games this season.”

Yeovil should look forward to building itself back up in a very talented Championship division of the ladies leagues. I look forward to watching the club become strong again and hope that they get the support they need in order to help them remain the lovely club in which they are. I hate seeing news like this and this is why women’s football needs more attention and support from the world.

Do Yeovil’s side have the ability and more importantly the funding to bounce back into the Super League next season?

Quarters come to a close!

Tonight is a huge night for the Women’s Champions League, as the quarter finals draw to a close.

PSG vs Chelsea- 18:00
1st Leg (0-2)

Tonight’s game will take place at Stade Jean Bouin, Paris, where Chelsea will take a 2-0 lead into the second leg against Paris Saint-German. With goals from Erin Cuthbert and Hannah Blundell at Kingsmeadow, the girls have an advantage for tonight’s game and will go in with full force. Chelsea will however have to go forth without Cuthbert as a result of suspension, meaning a recall for Fran Kirby may be on the cards, who came on and assisted both goals in the first leg as a super substitute. Emma Hayes (Chelsea Ladies manager) told BBC Sport “I wouldn’t say we were comfortable,” and that she expects “to go through some difficult moments” within the game. The winners of this tie will see either Wolfsburg or current holders Lyon in the semi-finals. Chelsea women are expecting a hostile environment tonight and have not issued any special travel advice to their supporters, despite a coach full of PSG fans being turned away from Kingsmeadow in the first round as a result of a police search revealing weapons and Class A drugs on board.

Photo credit: BBC

Wolfsburg vs Lyon- 17:15
1st Leg (1-2)

Whilst there are no French teams left in the Champions League and Europa League, it is now up to the ladies to bring something home. The first leg match saw Lyon win at the Groupama Stadium 2-1 and must maintain this lead under the threat of Wolfsburg in tonight’s game. Despite their lead, Lyonnaises should look to score in Germany and give themselves a little more air to breathe. The team go into it quite confident but know that there will be difficult periods throughout the game against a very strong Wolfsburg. Reynald Pedros stated that “It was important to identify the mistakes made in the first leg, we unfortunately conceded on set pieces.” Both Lyon and Wolfsburg will do everything they can to try and qualify and I have a feeling that Wolfsburg will try and take revenge for last year’s Champions League final where they lost out to Lyon. Lyon and Seattle Reign player Jess Fishlock stated “I think it’s the biggest test we have had all season, it is going to be one hell of a game and I’m very excited for it. Lyon, winners of five finals in eight years, including the last three, and Wolfsburg, winners in 2013, 2014 and runners-up in 2016 and 2018 are both among the favourites to win the tournament, so tonight’s game will be epic.

Photo credit: VFL Wolfsburg

LSK vs Barcelona- 17:30
1st Leg (0-3)

Barcelona have one foot in the last four as a result of Toni-Duggan’s brilliant performance and 2 goals, helping them to overcome Norwegian side LSK Kvinner 3-0 in the first leg. Barcelona started on the front foot, perhaps due to them being buoyed by their win over Atletico Madrid in a sold out Wanda Metropolitano. The Champions League is very special and is something Barcelona are working hard for. Whilst Barcelona didn’t add to their tally, an away goal tonight could mean that they had booked their place in the last four for only the second time in the clubs history. Barcelona are currently on a 5 game winning streak and even though they may not be the biggest favourite to win the entire competition, I am definitely expecting them to reach the semi-finals without any issues. The winner of this game will play either Bayern Munich or Slavia Praha.

Photo credit: fcBarcelona

Bayern vs Slavia Praha- 18:30
1st Leg (1-1)

Now, this will quite possibly the most interesting game off all tonight. The Czech side will head to the German city level at 1-1, after the first leg in Prague was played in front of the biggest crowd fir a Women’s Champions League game in the Czech Republic. Both teams are eyeing their first ever semi-final in the competition and therefore, I will be happy seeing whichever team going forward, as a semi-final position is a testament to them in itself. Slavia have previously fallen to Barcelona, Rosengard and Wolfsburg in Europe, so I’m hoping they come out in full force and with determination, making for a great game. The winner of this game will either play Barcelona or LSK in the Semi-final stage.

Photo credit: UEFA

Tonight’s games will be full of talent, as we see a wide range of players who will feature in the Women’s World Cup for their national teams in June, I am excited to see the level of talent on display and I hope the ladies will impress.

No room for homophobia!

Pride in Football and Three Lions Pride have called on UEFA to act upon anti-LGBT banners throughout Polish domestic games.

Over recent weeks, it has become apparent that homophobia is a common issue within the Polish football league. UEFA have been urged to pressure the Polish FA due to the offensive displays in the past few weeks. The issue has been highlighted by multiple organisations including The Fare Network, a Europe-wide organisation whom are devoted to tackling discrimination.

In a letter written to UEFA by Pride in Football and Three Lions Pride, the issue is addressed with a request for them to take action against the Polish FA. The letter calls for the football authorities to take a strong stand against discrimination and to ensure that the issue is resolved quickly. One of the main forms of punishment suggested, was for the Polish National teams European qualifier against Latvia to be cancelled, however this was not accommodated for.

Three Lions Pride are England’s LGBT+ fan group. Photo credit: SkySports

Pride in Football stated: “We are deeply concerned at the apparent lack of action from the Polish FA in response to recent anti-LGBT and homophobic fan banners at clubs in Poland, LGBT+ fans (and all supporters including those from any minority community) should feel safe and welcome to watch their team wherever they are playing.”

The letter tackles the issue by addressing the fact that UEFA ‘champions such equality’ and ‘the criteria for eligibility to participate in its competitions specifies that member associations actively address any form of discrimination.’ It is clear that UEFA are not living up to this, by them taking no action.

Poland is currently ranked 38th among 49 European countries with regards to LGBT+ rights, their current discrimination laws do very little to protect the community and this has resulted in the intolerance towards LGBT+ people being rife under the countries right-wing government. Perhaps this is the issue for Poland, but something needs to be done to allow for the community to feel accepted not just in football, but in their every day life.

Pride in Football are the UK’s alliance of LGBT+ supporter groups. Photo credit: SkySports

It is concerning that such homophobia still exists in this ever changing world. Acceptance of diversity is constantly increasing, but it is clear that in some areas of the world and certain individuals will need more time than others.

Through incredible organisations such as Pride in Football, Football vs Homophobia and Three Lions Pride, I have no doubt that the level of discrimination will continue to decrease as a response to the powerful work that these organisations do.

It is now on UEFA to respond and tackle the issue that we face.

For advice on tackling homophobia in football and how to get involved, visit:

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http://3lionspride.co.uk/

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Juventus and their game like no other!

Just a week after a new record was set by Atletico Madrid and Barcelona ladies, yet again we have been blessed with another sell out stadium in the women’s game. On Sunday Juventus took on Fiorentina in a top of the table clash with both teams on the quest for picking up as many points as possible.

Juventus ladies broke the leagues attendance record against Fiorentina! Photo credit: Juventus.com

The record breaking game saw Juventus take on 2nd place Fiorentina at the Allianz stadium, the home to the hugely successful men’s team, with the ladies proving to be just as incredible. This was the first time the ladies had ever had the opportunity to play at the Allianz and they did so with style and class. Over 39,000 fans turned up to watch the ladies in action and created an atmosphere which will forever be one to remember.

This turnout annihilated the previous record of 14,000 at any league game in the Women’s Seria A, regardless of the fact that all tickets were free. With this in mind and my passion for business taking control, I personally feel that this was a marvellous marketing move for the team. They were able to showcase their talent to the fans, with the hope that they will return in the future to support the club, but by paying for tickets. Juventus lived up to expectations and responded to the atmosphere in the stadium by securing 3 more points to give them an even greater lead over their second place rivals.

Yet again, this is another step in the right direction for ladies football. The exposure of the game both online and offline is something very special, with it having only pure positive impacts on the way that the ladies game improves and progresses throughout time. Records keep being broken and I hope that this doesn’t end any time soon.

Perhaps the teams leagues and their strategies will cause a ripple effect all around the world and prove that ladies football is in fact, a force to be reckoned with.

It is quite amazing to see just how much women’s football is thriving at the minute and it fills me with great confidence that the World Cup will be a brilliant opportunity to showcase the beautiful women’s game.

Juventus will face 7th place Sassuolo on Wednesday 27th March at 14:00pm.

Follow the ladies on their twitter page:

@JuventusFCWomen