Tag Archives: FA

FA CHARGE REFeree Darren DRYSDALE

Following the midweek match between Northampton and Ipswich Town, the FA have charged the referee in charge of that game Darren Drysdale with improper conduct against Ipswich Town’s Alan Judge.

In a statement, the FA said:

“Darren Drysdale has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 following last night’s EFL League One game between Ipswich Town FC and Northampton Town FC.”

The incident happened right at the end of the game when Judge felt that he should have had a penalty. The Referee Drysdale, however, obviously thought otherwise and awarded a free kick to Northampton Town

Admittedly, after watching the alleged foul, it is unclear if there was contact on Judge, which the player took exception to. What subsequently followed was a face- to-face confrontation between Judge and Drysdale.

It appeared that Judge felt incensed enough to say something at the referee. Whatever was said, neither party has disclosed but it prompted Drysdale to reply in an aggressive manner. Both Judge and Drysdale had to be separated and the match soon finished after the encounter.

Drysdale has since apologised, saying:

“I fully understand that it is important for us as referees to maintain our composure throughout the game and always engage with players in a professional manner.”

For his part, Judge said:

“There was no need for an apology. I wasn’t looking for one or looking for any action to be taken. In football as everybody knows stuff happens in the heat of the moment in a game. We all make mistakes and for me that is the end of this.”

It is not clear yet, whether Drysdale will officiate in any games this weekend.

Currently referees are in the spotlight more than usual with Mike Dean also the subject of some horrific social media abuse over this handling of the incident in the game he was officiating between Fulham and West Ham.

Football bodies Send Letter to Social Media CEOS

Football bodies across England have released an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The letter is in response to the increased levels of abuse received by players on the social media platforms in recent weeks.

Swansea City midfielder Yan Dhanda being the latest victim after Swansea’s FA Cup game against Manchester City. Dhanda posted on twitter “How can this still be happening in 2021?“.

Dhanda’s club Swansea City released a statement saying:

“Swansea City is appalled and saddened by racist abuse received by Yan Dhanda via social media following tonight’s Emirates FA Cup game against Manchester City.

“As a club, we pride ourselves on working with the community and our supporters, as well as the EFL and the FA, on all anti-racism and anti-discriminatory campaigns because it has no place in society.

“Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds, and we urge social media companies to go above and beyond to stamp out this abhorrent level of behaviour that continues to tarnish football and society.

“An official report has been made with South Wales Police and the club will assist them in their investigation.

“Yan has our unwavering support in this matter as we and the relevant authorities strive to eradicate this mindless behaviour.”

This come after Manchester United players, Axel Tuanzebe, Antony Martial, Lauren James and Marcus Rashford had experienced abuse on social media. Premier League Referee Mike Dean’s family were sent death threats.

The platform recently announced that user’s who send abusive message will face having their accounts permanently removed.  Facebook’s (who own the platform) content policy manager, Fadzai Madzingira who said:

“Currently, we will set a specific ban or what we call a block for a set amount of time when someone violates those rules and we extend that time should they continue to do so,

“We’re taking tougher measures on people who violate those rules in Instagram direct messaging, so instead of just extending the time, we’ll be removing the accounts altogether.”

The letter has called for more to be done and has been sent by, The FA, The Premier League, The EFL, The FA WSL, The FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick it Out.

The letter has called on the companies to do the following,

Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material.

You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation.

All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account.

Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material.

The letter also welcomes:

“The comments made on Twitter by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, that the UK Government is going to change the law to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms”.

“We call for meetings with your organisations to discuss the evidence of abuse on your platforms, the action you are taking, and how you plan to directly address the matters outlined in this letter.”

At the time of writing neither Facebook or Twitter have responded to the open letter.

What challenges lie ahead for Women’s Sports in the UK?

As the world of sport gradually starts getting back to us seeing action on the pitch, as opposed to action off it, spare a thought for the vast majority of women’s sports that are still not taking place at this present moment in time.

The Government and major governing bodies have been warned that a decade of progress in women’s sports are at risk if they do not urgently address a potential summer of no competitions.

While Premier League football will return in the middle of next month and men’s rugby and cricket currently finalising plans to return, women’s football, rugby and netball seasons have all been cancelled.

Women’s cricketers and hockey players are still in limbo, waiting to see what is left of international schedules, while there has been no women’s team sport since March 14th with no immediate prospect of a return.

By contrast, in Germany the Women’s Bundesliga resumed on Friday and there are plans in place in the USA for women’s football to restart in June.

There has been no elite women’s football in England for more than 90 days. This could extend to as much as six months pending a decision on whether this seasons Women’s Champions League and FA Cup can be concluded.

With record domestic crowds in the past few seasons and a major sponsorship deal with Barclays, is now unfortunately threatening to end with a whimper.

The new WSL season is provisionally set to begin in September, but this could well not happen due to the present pandemic.

Although the majority of WSL clubs have endorsed the decision by the FA to cancel the league, the general feeling remains that the governing body and the Premier League could have done more to ensure the return of women’s football. It certainly seems that the men’s version of the game is clearly taken priority at the moment. Which is a pity as the momentum in women’s sport overall has been on an all-time high.

It has been a dismal year for women’s rugby. The Premier 15’s had to be paused in January for the Six Nations, with the game struggling before the pandemic hit. When the coronavirus really hit the country, all Premier 15’s activity was suspended.

In cricket it has been a case of the England Men’s International game taking priority over the ladies, with £280 million on the line this is fully understandable. This in mind, couldn’t the ECB set aside something for the women’s game to continue?

Netball is certainly the sport set to lose the most momentum by virtually having its whole season cancelled.

This time last year, the country was preparing to host the World Cup in Liverpool, on the back of the success of the England netball team in the 2018 Commonwealth title in Australia, which sent participation levels in grass roots of the sport to record highs.

In Hockey. GB’s long-time partner International Bank Investic declined to renew its deal, which means that after August the national teams and the domestic league will have no sponsor.

Summing up, as men’s sport clamours to restart, it seems that the women’s teams are being abandoned, which isn’t good for the sport with little finances coming into the various sports.  Subsequently, it could mean that some sports may have to go back to their amateur roots once again.

Article written by Peter Moore

Manchester United warn of long-term economic effect of COVID-19 virus

On this day 21 years ago, ITV’s Clive Tyldesley uttered those famous words in Barcelona:

“Sheringham and Solskjaer has won it!  Manchester United have won it.”

Subsequently, The Red Devils lifted the Champions League for only the second time in their history, in so doing they completed the famous 1999 treble consisting of the Premier League, FA Cup and the prestigious European Trophy.

Fast-forward to the here and now, Manchester United has forecast that annual revenue would fall for the first time in five years after its failure to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United say the coronavirus pandemic has cost them an initial £28 million – and expect the final figure to be far higher.

Manchester United’s Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said:

“Our third-quarter results reflect a partial impact that the pandemic has had on the club but the greater impact will be in the current quarter and likely beyond.

“These are unprecedented times and we must recognise that this crisis will not disappear overnight.

“However, our club is built on a solid foundation. We remain firmly optimistic about the long-term prospects for the club once we have worked our way through what is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United.”

United, however, do have history of coming back from adverse situations, most notably the Munich air disaster that affected Sir Matt Busby’s ‘Busby Babes’ in 1958.

One of the clubs best ever a player at the time, Duncan Edwards, was among them.  That year they would go onto to some how make the FA Cup final and just 12 years after that fatal incident they would lift their first European Trophy in 1968.

Chief financial officer, Cliff Baty, estimated the lockdown cost United £23 million in the final two weeks of March because of the postponement of one Premier League away fixture (worth four million pounds at Tottenham Hotspur), a home Europa League last-16 tie against LASK (Linzer Athletik- Sport- Klub), the FA Cup quarter-final at Norwich City, broadcasting reductions plus the closure of the Old Trafford megastore, Red Cafe and United Events.

The managing director, Richard Arnold, said:

“The economic ramifications from this global pandemic will continue to resonate for years to come, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for the sponsorship business and our ability to remain a leader within the market.”

United are also waiting on the Football Association to make some crucial decisions that could have a big impact on their interim future.

The Football Association will remain determined to get the FA Cup, which is up to the quarter-final stage, played.

Wembley Way is quiet due to the current crisis. If the FA Cup does get back up and running this season then Wembley Way will still be silent when the final is played. The idea of football returning without fans and an empty stadium will be a quite a different feeling for the players.

That might be as good a reason as any to cancel it. Will winning the FA Cup when no fans are there to celebrate really feel like winning the FA Cup at all?

For now United’s teams are waiting to hear how their chances of lifting a trophy this season are going to be affected by football’s new terrain.

Article written by Subeer Suri

How does the FA plan to complete the Women Super League season?

These are certainly challenging times for the sporting calendar across the board.

Particularly it seems for women’s football, this appears somewhat remarkable given its raised profile in this country over the last few years and when the FA announced the Women Super League as the first fully professional division in Europe back in 2017.

It looked as though the only way was up with the prospects of improved publicity and clearer career paths for young talent emerging through the ranks.

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown attendance records for women’s matches were rising significantly as 38,000 fans turned out at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to see Arsenal’s 2-0 win over their North London rivals back in November of last year.

This in mind, 24/7 football decided to examine what the Football Association’s current plan is for completing the WSL season.

How many games are left?

There are 45 games of the current season still to be played and no WSL fixture has taken place since the 23 February, following an international break for the SheBelieves Cup involving England, Spain, Japan and the USA.

Current situation?

Already the tiers three to seven of the women’s football leagues in England have been declared null and void and subsequently the decision was confirmed on 9 April.  There is the prospect of the top two leagues in the Women’s game following this same line depending upon health advice given by the Government over the coming weeks.

What is the FA’s current plan?

The current plan that the Football Association is looking into is playing out the remaining fixtures all at one central venue behind closed doors with St.George’s Park, the FA’s English National football centre, currently being talked about as a possible location.

The earliest the campaign could begin however would be the weekend of the 6-7 June depending on the government’s advice and would rely on the players being able to begin training in the final week of May.

The completion date being targeted would therefore be the weekend of 18-19 July and would require each of the 12 WSL teams to play two matches per week.

It is understood that the FA would want any decisions made on the top women’s division to follow along with any similar choices made by the Premier League and the European Football governing body, UEFA.

How do the managers and players feel about this?

Manchester City and England striker Ellen White is hoping that the ‘crazy’ Super League season will be completed when the coronavirus is lifted.  White said:

“First and foremost I just want everyone to be healthy. I think everyone would love to finish the season but everyone’s health is the top priority.

“It’s been a pretty crazy season already and it’s a massive fight for who is going to win the league.”

Despite losing their manager Nick Cushing to New York City FC Manchester City found themselves a point clear ahead of their nearest rivals Chelsea. However their title rivals have a game in hand, which had set up an exciting finish until COVID-19 stopped all sport.

The Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes meanwhile has said:

“When the men’s professional game resumes the WSL should consider doing that but I understand if the season does not resume and life is ultimately more important. Hopefully when the times come to lift the restrictions we can all do it in the same way.”

While the Bristol City Women’s manager Tanya Oxtoby has recently expressed concerns that some players may in fact be struggling with anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Oxtoby said

“Athletes like structure, routine and to be around each other.  So I think from a mental health point of view that’s probably very difficult.

“There’s also been the added stress in terms of finances and families, those are all factors that will affect individual players a little bit differently.”

This observation can certainly be applied to all sports personnel during this time. FIFA Pro recently carried out a survey alongside Amsterdam University on both male and female footballers which showed 22% of female players and 13% of male players have reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression.

What next?

The Football Association is determined to complete the current season but wants it finished by no later than early August.

The FA Women’s Director Kelly Simmons, supports this by saying:

“We are determined to finish the FA WSL, Women’s Championship and the FA Cup in the most appropriate way while it is also the intention of UEFA to complete the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

“We are doing everything we can to plan for the return of football but for now safety and welfare remains are primary concern.”

One thing is however clearly apparent; this is certainly an unprecedented time for all those involved and ultimately tough decisions will need to be made about the future and growth of the women’s game in the days ahead.