WWW: BBC, W-League losses & English defeated

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BBC to cover the FIFA Women’s World Cup, English Wembley debut soured by German champions, W-League in crisis with ABC cuts and Duggan’s dream achieved!

BBC announces full coverage of the Women’s World Cup
The BBC has just announced that they will be covering all of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and will broadcast the games.

BBC Two, BBC Three and the Red Button will all be covering the games, while Radio 5 and the BBC Sport website will also extend the coverage.

“The BBC offers a huge platform to showcase one of the largest women’s sports events to a British audience,” director of FIFA TV, Niclas Ericson told BBC Sport.

“We’re delighted to be adding the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 to our portfolio of women’s sport,” said Barbara Slater, the BBC’s director of sport.

“Our coverage of women’s football goes from strength to strength and there continues to be a strong appetite for it. We look forward to bringing our audiences the excitement and drama of another major women’s international football tournament.”

English debut at Wembley spoiled by Germany
After the glorious claim of fans at Wembley, England struggled to defeat the German powerhouse that claimed a 3-0 victory with a brace scored by wonder striker Célia Šašić.

Trying to prove that they can challenge in Canada in 2015, the Lady Lions will be disappointed with their performance.

English star Jordan Nobbs fired a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar within 15 seconds and set the 45,000 fans cheering.

An own goal from Alex Scott put Germany ahead in the 6th minute however, and Šašić claimed her first of the match on a counter-attack, with Lucy Bronze failing to stop her on the goal line.

Her second goal came right before the girls disappeared into the change room at half time, heading in a beautiful goal to give Germany a resounding lead.

“We need to correct our defensive errors but we have to remember we’ve got six months or so before the World Cup starts – it doesn’t start in December, it starts in June and we’ll learn some valuable lessons from today,” England coach Mark Sampson said.

England failed to look threatening against Germany’s defense in the second half and the home side struggled to impress their fans as the German internationals led to their victory.

W-League coverage threatened by ABC budget cuts
The ABC budget cuts have taken another victim – the Westfield W-League – and this move could see the sport lose many of its sponsorships now that there are no televised games for them to shine their wares on.

This lack of sponsorships could also lead to a player exodus; due to the lack of player funding that supports the league itself.

Canberra United boss Heather Reid has labeled the decision to cease coverage after the current seasons as “shameful”, and said it could send women’s sport “back to the drawing board”.

The ABC has told staff coverage of women’s soccer and basketball will end at the end of the current season, and the coverage of the Shute Shield rugby union competition and other state football leagues will be cut, too.

It was feared that women’s sport would be on the chopping block when it was first announced the ABC budget would be slashed by $254 million in budget cuts and it has been said that it had been made a “sacrificial lamb”.

“When I heard about the cut it was obvious something would have to go, of course women’s sport is the sacrificial lamb.”

“It’s a huge shame and I hope it doesn’t end up being the case because ABC has been such a huge supporter of women’s sport.”

“I would say it’s a very dark day for women’s sport. It’s a huge mistake I believe.”

“The Liberal government doesn’t really put sport ahead of anything else, especially women’s sport, and that’s why I thought it would be one of the things to go.”

“It impacts individual and team sponsorship dollars, it impacts a lot of things. What they’re basically doing is short-changing it in every single sense.”

The ABC currently shows one live W-League game on Sunday and the league has been shown on ABC since its inception in 2008-09.

Sources within the ABC have also confirmed iconic commentators Drew Morphett, Dan Lonergan and Peter Newlinds will lose their jobs.

Reid was unsure what it would mean for the future of the W-League.

“I think it’s shameful, it’s terrible, it’s bad for women’s sport, but it’s also bad for regional and community sport, too,” Reid said.

“It’s going to have a big knock-on effect unless other broadcasters pick up the TV coverage, particularly for the W-League and the WNBL, it will have potential ramifications across the sponsorship … [which] helps keep the fledgling clubs alive in the absence of massive TV rights deals.”

“Sponsors want to see their brand on TV and if we don’t have that TV coverage then it’s almost back to the drawing board.”

The FFA – Football Federation Australia – was incredibly disappointed with the decision, but insists that there won’t be any effect of the viability of the competition and that the FFA will work with all broadcasters to make sure that the game continues and the W-League continues to grow.

Toni Duggan’s dream realized at Wembley
Toni Duggan realized her dream of playing in the national team in front of thousands of fans – a dream that she’s had since she first started training at the Everton Ladies youth club that saw her take on boys four years older than she was.

“The fact there’ll be 55,000 people singing it back at me makes you realise how far you’ve come as an individual but also as women footballers,” said Duggan.

“It was always our aim to raise the profile of the game and I believe it’s only going to get bigger.”

“We sold out for our capacity,’ said Duggan. ‘Who knows, in the future if we get invited back to Wembley again it could be a bit higher.”

“I’ve been to Wembley before to watch Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup semi-final in 2012. I saw the atmosphere there and I didn’t ever think women’s football would be played in front of those crowds in my time.”

Duggan’s love of football began when she played on the sideline of her older brothers’ games and it has expanded ever since.

“I played with lads four years older than me,’ said Duggan. ‘It brought me on physically and mentally and challenged me a lot more than when I played with the girls because there weren’t that many girl footballers about.”

“When I was 12 I was told I couldn’t play with the boys any more and I was devastated. I’d recommend for any little girl starting out to play with the boys as long as possible.”

“A lot of the boys I played with went on to play non-League and they come and watch me sometimes.”

“I remember as a kid scouts from Liverpool and Everton would come along and I’d try to impress them and they’d look at me like, ‘You’re not a boy’. But even at Man City now if someone comes along to watch us train I’ll be putting in the extra 20 per cent to make sure they know women’s football is a good standard.”

“That’s the fight we’ve been fighting all our lives. That’s why the Wembley game is so big — we’re finally winning the battle.”

Duggan recently joined Manchester City after they were promoted to the top women’s league, after a lifetime of playing for Everton Ladies.

‘If I want to be at the top Man City is the best club for me,’ said Duggan, ‘The women are treated exactly the same as the men, they’ve built a mini stadium just for the women’s team. We train with the under 18 boys.

‘That takes me back to my childhood, I get a kick out of that. I see the likes of Sergio Aguero, James Milner or Yaya Toure around the building and they will say they’ve watched our games sometimes.’

‘Being feminine and sporty is not mutually exclusive,’ she said. ‘That’s just the way I am and I’m not going to change that because I’m a footballer.

‘I’m a totally different person when I go on the pitch. You can judge me and say I like to look after my nails or I want to wear false eyelashes but it doesn’t mean I’m going to pull out of a 50-50 challenge. I think it’s good that there are a couple of girls on the team who are a lot more feminine and it’s important that girls have different role models.

‘It’s important that people are judged on their footballing ability first and foremost. It doesn’t mean to say because someone else isn’t as feminine they’re not as good.’

Duggan was glad that they got to face off against Germany, and believes that this level of competition is exactly what the Lady Lions need in their rise.

“I wouldn’t want any other opposition for this big stage,” said Duggan.

“If we want to be at the top of our game, we need to be playing in front of 55,000 against one of the best teams in the world and people can see how good we are.”

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