The latest news from women’s football in the UK and around the rest of the world over the last week.
Neville believes Lionesses will play at Wembley next year
England women’s manager Phil Neville has said that he is “almost certain” that his team will play at Wembley Stadium next year, which will be the first time since 2014. That fixture came against Germany and is the only time the Lionesses have ever played at the national stadium.
When speaking about the potential opportunity for his side to play at Wembley, Neville said:
“There will be another game at Wembley, that’s something both the Football Association and I want. We will have games at Wembley next year, I’m almost certain of it, it’s exciting.
European fans come out in force to support women’s football
Huge attendances at women’s international football matches in Europe on Friday ensured that it was a landmark night for the sport. Figures showed that over 72,000 fans watched eight matches across the continent, with two of those games recording the biggest ever crowds for qualifying fixtures.
There were just over 30,000 fans at PSV’s Phillips Stadium to see the Netherlands beat Northern Ireland 7-0, while more than 25,000 turned out for England’s 0-0 draw against Wales at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium.
Duggan wants more English players to play abroad
England forward Toni Duggan, who moved to Barcelona last year, has called for more English players to go and play abroad.
The striker signed for Barcelona from Manchester City in the summer and was the first English player to join the Catalonians in over 30 years – and she is now the top scorer of the club with ten goals in 24 matches.
Duggan has revealed the embarrassment she felt when she first started training with her new club, as she said:
“I was quite embarrassed speaking to a few of the girls at dinner when I first arrived. Some of them are younger than me and have played in three or four different countries.
“Here’s me, sitting here, 26 years old, and I’m like a baby, I’m like this is the first time I’ve left home, I only signed a two-year contract because I’m a bit worried, and it’s crazy.
“These other girls, they know five languages, and I’m like: “Ok, I only speak English.’ I think it’s important that the English culture changes a little bit, and we do start to go abroad and step out of our comfort zone.”
Forbes’ most powerful women in sports list dominated by football
FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has topped Forbes’ list of the most powerful women in sport for 2018.
Samoura, who hails from Senegal, is the first female General Secretary FIFA has ever had, and she was appointed to the role in 2016 after her predecessor was removed following an ethics investigation.
The General Secretary is the second-highest position in world football, behind FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and leads the commercial and operational side of the governing body, including the World Cup.
Elsewhere, Lydia Nsekera of Burundi, who became the first woman to be elected to the FIFA Executive Committee in 2013, was second on the list. In third place was Florence Hardouin of France, who was the first woman to have been elected a member of the executive committee of UEFA, the governing body of European football.
Nigerian striker slams international teams lack of preparation
Nigerian Women’s striker Desire Oparanozie has slammed the lack of “adequate preparation” that her side was given following their 8-0 hammering by France. Before the game on Friday, the African champions remarkably had not played a single match since recording their eighth African Cup of Nations victory in December 2016.
After the France drubbing, the Nigerian striker said:
“We deserve consistent engagements with Grade A opposition just as we hope to compete against them on the global stage.
“We also need proper facilities…and women teams need adequate, documented and properly planned logistical arrangements, preferably before tournaments/camping to ensure seamless experiences.”
Nigeria are the only African team to have played in all of the Women’s World Cup tournaments since 1991.
Ghanaian women’s league agrees sponsorship deal
Women’s football in Ghana has received a huge boost after FreshPak Products has agreed a 500,000 Ghanaian Cedi sponsorship deal with the country’s Football Association for the National Women’s League.
The President of the Ghanaian FA has said that the deal would ease the financial stress on the organisation and will hopefully help progress the league forward.