England climb world rankings; Sampson punished by Uefa and there are calls for Welsh FA to make changes

WSL1 News

The latest news from women’s football in the UK and around the rest of the world over the last week.

Lionesses leapfrog Germany to become second best in the world

England women have risen to second in the FIFA world rankings, which is the highest position they have ever held.

The move up in the rankings means that the Lionesses are now the highest-ranked team in Europe, with only the USA above them, who maintain their status as the number one team in the world.

Olympic champions Germany have slipped down to third place, while Canada have climbed back into fourth place. Elsewhere, Scotland and Wales have moved up a place to 22nd and 34th, with Northern Ireland dropping down to 56th.

Former Lionesses boss punished by Uefa after shocking incident

Ex-England manager Mark Sampson was being investigated by Uefa before being sacked last year after he was accused of brandishing a metal pole and verbally abusing an official.

After he was relieved of his duties as the Lionesses boss, Sampson was handed a three-match ban by Uefa for the offence.

Warning: The following use of language may be found offensive.

Uefa published documents on their website which detail the “aggressive and insulting” behaviour that the Welshman directed towards officials on 3rd August 2017.

The governing body said that in the 60th minute, Sampson verbally abused the Uefa venue director, by telling her: “You better sit down, you little shit!”

The report continues: “After the game, the referee liaison officer was standing outside the referee changing room when [Sampson] shouted aggressively at her: ‘You’re a fucking disgrace, it’s a fucking shame.’

“He then picked up a metal pillar raising it above his head aggressively before throwing it down hard against the floor, shutting the door to the corridor, saying: ‘I’m going to close the fucking door in your fucking face.'”

Referee liaison officer Fijke Hoogendijk said that she was “concerned he was going to strike her”, according to the report.

Uefa said the FA had accepted the charges against Sampson, who had apologised for “any inappropriate language he used both during and after the game”.

Man United and Saints take big steps in women’s football

Manchester United and Southampton both announced last week that they have applied to join the second tier of the women’s league next season. United and the Saints are the only two Premier League sides who do not currently have an affiliated women’s team.

The FA will not make a decision on the clubs that have been successful with their bids until after 27th May, with just five places available in the newly structured second tier, which is to be known as the FA Women’s Championship from next season.

Welsh FA need to make changes to progress women’s game

A former Sports Wales chairwoman has called for more support in Wales for women’s football. Professor Laura McAllister, who previously captained the national side, has said that there are currently not enough women coaches or a workforce that is able to oversee the introduction of new clubs.

Professor McAllister said: “When girls start school they already think of football as a game for boys. That’s the problem – we need to give more support, more money and put more of an emphasis on the women’s game – and in particular with young girls.

“We need to make sure that there is a workforce out there that can support the development of the game. We simply don’t have enough women coaches at elite or grass root level and we don’t have a workforce that can support the growth of new clubs.”

The Football Association of Wales has stated that it aims to have 20,000 girls and women playing by 2024, but there are currently only 6,500. The association said that it needs to put in the work, in order to change perceptions of the game.

Finnish FA under government investigation over female pay

FIFPro, the world players’ union, has confirmed that Finland are currently investigating whether their football association is discriminating against the women’s national team.

The female national-team players are alleged to be receiving less pay and are playing under worse conditions than their male counterparts. The government equality commissioner is now looking into whether that is illegal.

National legislation in Finland requires all sports organisations that are granted state subsidies to promote equality, with gender discrimination completely and utterly prohibited in the country.

Both the male and female teams receive equal appearance fees, however, the women’s bonus scheme is believed to be inferior to that of the men. The decision of the government equality commissioner is expected to be made before the summer.

FIFA’s Women’s Global League proposal may be in doubt

FIFA president Gianni Infantino recently revealed plans for a women’s global league, but his proposal is now believed to have been squashed by council members, as they argued that the plans are lacking detail.

UEFA are also not keen on the idea, following their admission that their schedule is currently full and that the proposals were not in the best interests of football clubs.

Former FIFA director of women’s football, Tatjana Haenni, who spent 18 years running women’s football at FIFA, said: “It’s great that FIFA wants to do something new but the proposed concept is not what is helpful for women’s football worldwide.

“It shows that there is a lack of consultancy. Discussions about this started even when I was there. I said at the time it’s not what I recommend to do.  It’s a really good sign that the decision was postponed. In Europe the calendar is full. To add a new national team competition without any in-depth consultation or feasibility study is a risk.”

About the Author

James Murray
I am a second-year journalism student at London South Bank University. I am a huge football fan and love to analyse, write and talk about various aspects of the beautiful game.