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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Manchester City Ladies "will compete in the top flight of the women's game for the first time in their history," according to the BBC. The Women's Super League "has been expanded into two tiers of eight and 10 teams" beginning in '14, an increase from the previous single division of eight. Two-time English league winners Doncaster Rovers Belles "will play in the second tier as part of the change." The FA "hopes that the introduction of two tiers will increase competition and grow the game in more areas." The governing body "will part-fund teams in the semi-professional WSL," awarding £70,000 ($108,000) to clubs in WSL1 and £25,000 ($38,700) in WSL2. Manchester City currently plays in the Premier League, but "will feature in the top flight" with reigning champions Arsenal, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy, Chelsea, Everton, Notts County (formerly known as Lincoln Ladies) and Liverpool beginning next season. The second tier will comprise of Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham, London Bees (Barnet FC), Millwall Lionesses, Oxford United, Reading, Sunderland, Watford and Yeovil Town (BBC, 4/26).

After months of waiting and legal wrangling, La Liga side Deportivo La Coruña finally has access to the funds it says it needs "to maintain operations," according to Monica Villar of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. La Coruña Judge Rafael García Pérez decided Friday "to lift the embargo" on the €9M ($11.8M) TV rights money that Media Pro owed Deportivo. The release of the funds "came with conditions." The judge stipulated that Deportivo "must only use what is necessary from the funds to keep the club trading." In no case can the club "spend more than the amount it will receive next July" (TV rights money for the '13-14 season). The final condition is that the club "must secure a guarantee from the Real Federación Española de Fútbol -- Spanish Football Federation -- that it won't expel Deportivo from the league if it fails to meet payments to all its creditors" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 4/29).

New Spanish Football League (LFP) President Javier Tebas said he plans to address everything from matchfixing to broadcast rights, according to Amaya Iríbar of EL PAIS. On the subject of teams at risk of liquidation this summer, Tebas said, "[La Liga side] Deportivo is in the UVI (Intensive Care Unit), but we believe we can save it. In the Spanish second division, Xerex worries us a lot because it is in a bad situation economically and athletically, a terrible cocktail." Tebas said that relegations for economic reasons are a possibility under his watch. Tebas: "If teams do not follow the rules, without a doubt, we will see relegations for economic reasons. There will be relegations, there will be penalties preventing teams from acquiring players. The rules that we are establishing are, more than being very hard, very clear and perfectly possible to follow by making important efforts" (EL PAIS, 4/28).

Chechen linesman Musa Kadyrov was banned for life on Monday after assaulting a player in a Russian league football match. The incident "occurred at the end of Sunday's reserve game in Grozny between Amkar Perm and local side Terek when a raging Kadyrov dropped his flag and ran on to the pitch, attacking startled Amkar defender Ilya Krichmar" (REUTERS, 4/29). ... Real Madrid President Florentino Perez "has prohibited his players from signing shirts without the club’s permission, except for events organized by the club or by express request." The reason behind the decision is that ex-Telefonica Media President Manuel Garcia-Duran "controls the exclusive rights to items featuring the signatures of Real Madrid players." However, the report goes on to say that the Real Madrid players "completely ignore the ban and sign shirts, balls and photos, albeit discreetly" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 4/29). ... Brazil's government condemned the behavior of fans on Sunday after dozens of caxirolas -- Brazil's official 2014 World Cup instrument -- "were thrown onto the pitch during a stadium test event." An estimated 30,000 fans were handed their own caxirola -- a type of plastic maraca -- "before the local derby between Bahia and Vitoria at the newly opened Fonte Nova stadium." But the shaker "was turned into a projectile by scores of irate Bahia fans as their team trailed 2-0 just before half-time" (XINHUA, 4/28). ... Man City announced that the famous silver EPL trophy "has visited 16 countries during City's reign as champions" -- and helped to raise more than £45,000 ($70,000) for charity. The trophy won by City "has visited 74 official supporters clubs worldwide, 67 schools and attended more than 600 events, the majority of them fundraisers" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 4/28).