WWW: Pitch arguments, Francielle’s signature, SAFF in danger and more

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Canada refuses to engage in talks over FIFA Women’s World Cup pitches, Francielle signs for the Breakers, SAFF to continue despite danger and can we close the gender gap in sport?

FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts Canada refuse to enter pitch talks
Representatives from Canada, the upcoming Women’s World Cup host, have decided to remain absent from talks involving the controversial use of artificial pitches in the competition next year.

Top players brought a legal action to the hosts and now a human rights tribunal has suggested a mediation to figure out the problems that the players are having.

The Canada Soccer Association is also being sued for alleged sex discrimination along with the governing body of football, FIFA. Both groups have stated that they are not prepared to enter into negotiations.

According to press sources, 13 United States senators backed the idea that the players should have grass pitches and sent a letter of support to Sepp Blatter and the FIFA organization.

Two recipients of the Ballon d’Or, Nadine Angerer and Abby Wambach of Germany and the United States respectively, are amongst those that are in full support of fully grass pitches, and that this is something that is expected in international competitions.

Synthetic pitches have increased risk of injuries and changes the nature of how the matches are played, the players claim, but FIFA insists that there is no difference in the risks compared to natural grass.

Attorney Hampton Dellinger, a representative of the players, claimed the CSA had gone against previous suggestions that it would enter into talks about the pitch.

“We will ask the tribunal to reconsider its decision not to hear the application on a fast-track basis,” Dellinger said.

In response, CSA president Victor Montaglian said: “We continue to move forward with our preparations for what will be a world-class competition played on consistent, top quality Fifa two-star certified football turf surfaces.”

Breakers sign Brazilian midfielder Francielle
The Boston Breakers have made a signing that could change their entire season as Brazilian playmaker Francielle joins their midfield.

The 25-year-old star previously played for Sao Jose in Brazil’s top flight of football, winning both the league and the cup in 2014 and claiming the Copa Libertadores in 2013.

Francielle played for Brazil in the 2011 World Cup as well as the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Brazil won the silver medal in 2008, losing in a close game to the United States in the dying seconds of extra time.

A young debut was always in store for Francielle as she made her presence on the pitch known at a young age, as she first played for Brazil’s senior team in November of 2006, a month after her 17th birthday. That event was marked with a 2-0 victory over Peru.

“Francielle is a fantastic addition to the roster,” Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said.

“She’s a very talented and known player who has gained a tremendous amount of experience for such a young player.

“Her ability on the field is tremendous, and she will add a lot of creativity and attacking threat to this new-look roster. I am very excited to see her play in the NWSL in a Boston Breakers jersey.”

Francielle, better known to her friends as Francielle Manoel Alberto, is best known for her time in the United States playing for the Sky Blue FC in 2009, scoring the game-winning goal against Washington Freedom in the first round of the playoffs.

The team went on to claim victories against Saint Louis Atheletica and the Los Angeles Sol to win the WPS championship.


SAFF Women’s Champions to kick off despite security concerns

The South Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship kicks off its 2014 competition this Tuesday in Islamabad, featuring eight women’s national teams including Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Organizers of the event promised that this championship, which first started in 2010, would be held under strict security following a recent string of attacks from terrorist organizations, including the November 2 suicide attack on the Wagah border post.

Pakistan Football Federation secretary Ahmed Yar Lodhi vowed that the event would continue as planned.

“We have high level security in place and hope that the event will remove all doubts over our hosting a top event like this,” Yar Lodhi said.

The Afghan team is already playing in Islamabad and is training in preparation.

The 29-member Bangladesh squad has already had the benefit of a month’s intensive training with Japanese coach Norio Tsukitate and will be arriving in the morning to begin their training preparation.

The Indian team aim to defend the trophy, a victory that they took in the previous two tournaments – 2010 and 2012 – in which they met Nepal in both finals.

Helen Grant wants to close the gender gap in professional sport
British Sports Minister Helen Grant has declared that the women’s sport conference that “we need to do a lot more” to improve female participation.

The MP was speaking to the Transforming Sport conference at Lord’s, demanding that they needed to close the “two million dollar gender gap” between men and women in professional sport.

Sport England had its national campaign launched on Thursday entitled ‘This Girl Can’.

“Young women have real issues about how they’re judged when playing sport,” chief executive Jennie Price said.

“That is a barrier we want to break down.

“We want to create a new way of thinking and talking about sport.”

Grant commented on the suspension of John Cummings, the Nothumberland County FA vice-president, who told a female referee that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not on a football field.”

Grant described his comments as “totally unaccepted” in the sporting world or anywhere, and that there was still work to be done despite progress being made.

A BBC prize money survey revealed earlier this week that 30% of sports do not pay women as well as their male counterparts when involved in professional sports.

Grant, said she was “very proud” to be attending the Transforming Sports conference, saying: “Record numbers of women aged between 16 and 25 play sport once a week but there is still a two million gender gap between men and women playing sport and that needs to change.

“We’ve got to listen to what women and girls want and give it to them.”

As part of the conference, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Women and Sport Advisory board released its interim report on the challenges facing women in sport.

It collated figures to show 1.97m more men than women play sport in England and 48% of girls feel sweating “isn’t feminine”.

However, it stated the number of women playing sport has risen by 62,800 to 6m this year and women received 40% of sporting honours in 2014 up from 31% in 2013.

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