Female fans at an Asian Cup semi-final match in January 2019Fifa president Gianni Infantino has written to the Iranian Football Federation to seek assurances that women will be allowed to attend 2022 World Cup qualifiers.In a letter seen by BBC Sport, Infantino also expresses his disappointment that Iran has gone back on its commitment to open up stadiums. Last October, female fans were allowed into a match in Tehran for the first time following a 40-year ban. In November, hundreds of women also attended an Asian Champions League final match which saw local team Persepolis lose to Japan’s Kashima Antlers.But Infantino said in the letter it was “disappointing” to learn that fans were turned away from Iran’s friendly match with Syria on 6 June and that a number of fans were detained by authorities. Writing to Iranian Football Federation president Medhi Taj, he said: “This is not in line with the commitments given to us in March 2018 by [Iran] President Rouhani when we were assured that important progress would be made on this matter soon.”Whilst we are aware of the challenges and cultural sensitivities, we simply have to continue making progress here, not only because we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the Fifa statutes.”In the circumstances, I would be very grateful if you could inform Fifa, at your earliest convenience but no later than 15 July 2019, as to the concrete steps which both the FFIRI [Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran] and the Iranian state authorities will now be taking in order to ensure that all Iranian and foreign women who wish to do so will be allowed to buy tickets and to attend the matches of the qualifiers for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, which will start in September 2019.”Infantino’s letter comes after Fifa admitted it was wrong to eject two fans from a Women’s World Cup match in France for wearing T-shirts calling for Iranian women to be let into stadiums. Fifa said the message was “social, not political” so not against its rules and added it “will do its best to ensure similar situations do not occur at future matches”.
Who is Valencia’s exciting English teenager Musah?
Yunus Musah is eligible to represent England, Ghana, Italy and the United StatesThe departure of several key stars has made for a tough summer for Valencia – but one talented English teenager is offering room for optimism at the Mestalla Stadium.Former Arsenal academy star Yunus Musah became the first English player to represent the Spanish…
Yunus Musah is eligible to represent England, Ghana, Italy and the United StatesThe departure of several key stars has made for a tough summer for Valencia – but one talented English teenager is offering room for optimism at the Mestalla Stadium.Former Arsenal academy star Yunus Musah became the first English player to represent the Spanish side when he started their opening 4-2 La Liga win over Levante on 13 September.And at 17 years 289 days, it also made England youth international Musah the club’s youngest foreign player, as well as putting him in the top 10 youngest overall.Musah made his second successive start in a 2-1 defeat by Celta Vigo on Saturday, meaning he has played 171 of Valencia’s 180 league minutes so far as he seeks to consolidate a place in the first team following the club’s turbulent pre-season.Valencia supporters protested against owner Peter Lim before the Levante game, after former Watford boss Javi Gracia became the club’s eighth different manager since 2014 and key players Ferran Torres, Rodrigo, Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin all departed.However, their side twice came from behind in the 4-2 derby victory, with Musah’s impressive debut further helping to lift the mood.”I was very happy. I couldn’t stop smiling and I called my parents afterwards,” Musah told the club’s website post-match.”I spoke with them to thank them and I want to thank everybody who has helped me to have this moment.”So, just how did he get here?Yunus Musah spent seven years at Arsenal, winning the U18 Premier League South in 2019Musah has captained England from under-15 to under-18 level, despite also being eligible to represent Ghana, Italy and the United States.Of Ghanaian descent, he was born in the American city New York while his mother was on holiday there in November 2002 and then lived in Italy until the age of nine.He began his youth career in Italy, with local side Giorgione, before joining Arsenal’s academy after moving to London in 2012.Musah spent seven years with the Gunners and played a key role in their under-18s’ Premier League South triumph in 2018-2019, scoring four goals and making three assists in 15 appearances that campaign, before his Valencia move.The versatile midfielder has featured centrally and on the wing for both club and country, and has already established a reputation for his slick passing, creativity and pace.The question now is: just how good could he be?”The merit for what players do, like Yunus, should go to the player. There is the makings of a player there, and despite his age he showed great maturity to endure the level of demand that was there,” Gracia saidexternal-link following Musah’s debut against Levante.”That should be valued and we should take care of him, so that in the future he contributes many more things to Valencia.”Having already demonstrated his exciting potential in Valencia’s opening games of 2020-21, Musah’s present challenge is to cement his place as a regular starter – and perhaps get his first goal.He came closest when he struck the woodwork against Levante, and his end product is something the player himself identifies as an area for immediate improvement.”I want to score more goals and be more consistent with my passes,” he said. “Sometimes in the game I can do so many good passes and one bad one. I want to correct that.”Musah has described himself as “a passer and also physical”, adding: “I can run past players because I’m a bit bigger than some of them. I’m really good at passing and I can create a lot of chances.”Valencia – and England – will be hoping he can continue to flourish during his time at the Mestalla, where he is contracted until 2022.Stacey Dooley Revisits: Where are they now?Mercury Prize: 12 essential albums from former winners and nominees
‘He raised me like you’ – Mourinho moved by request for photo to honour journalist’s father
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Nike to make Australia away football kit in female sizes ‘by 2021’
Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionAustralia is set to co-host the Women’s World Cup in 2023Australia’s football authority has announced that replicas of the national team’s away shirt will be available in women’s sizes, after a fan backlash.New kits for the women’s and men’s football teams, created by Nike, were unveiled last week.Football Federation Australia…
Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionAustralia is set to co-host the Women’s World Cup in 2023Australia’s football authority has announced that replicas of the national team’s away shirt will be available in women’s sizes, after a fan backlash.New kits for the women’s and men’s football teams, created by Nike, were unveiled last week.Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Wednesday the kits would now be ready for supporters “in early 2021.”In a statement, the FFA said the initial unavailability “was not consistent with the values in which FFA seeks to uphold and promote”.The football body added that it would ensure “future processes are aligned with the organisation’s broader vision and mission for the sport”.Manufacturer Nike also confirmed the news. It said it was “committed to women’s football and serving our female athletes and consumers”.Last week’s news prompted outcry from fans and players. Australian national player Elise Kellond-Knight wrote on Twitter the lack of women’s sizes was “a fairly significant problem”.But the latest announcement has been welcomed by prominent figures in Australian football, including Moya Dodd, a former vice-captain of the national team.Australia’s women’s football team, known as The Matildas, are currently ranked seventh in the world. In 2019 the Matildas struck a historic deal with the FFA which means the top male and female players are on the same pay scale. However the men are likely to keep earning more due to the greater prize money on offer at their matches. They also now receive identical training conditions and other entitlements, such as business air travel, which had previously only been afforded to the lower-ranked men’s team.Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting the next Women’s World Cup tournament in 2023.