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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

Female commentator Jacqui Oatley said the world’s richest football club, ManU, "stands out like a sore thumb" for its lack of support for the women’s game in England, according to Ian Burrell of the London INDEPENDENT. Oatley, the BBC Match of the Day broadcaster, said that ManU was conspicuous by its absence from women’s football since '05, "despite the major commitment to the female game made by some of the Old Trafford club’s biggest Premier League rivals." She said, "It’s great that Manchester City are taking [women’s football] seriously. The one that stands out like a sore thumb is Manchester United." Oatley compared ManU unfavorably to other big Premier League clubs that have embraced women's football. She said, "Arsenal deserve so much credit for pushing women’s football forward and you look at the benefits they have had. They have won 18 major trophies since the Arsenal men last won one. Manchester United is the one missing club." Oatley "was herself the victim of prejudice after becoming the first female commentator on Match of the Day six years ago" (INDEPENDENT, 7/9).

A CLOSED BOOK: In London, Marina Hyde opined "scarcely watchable, wildly over-remunerated, explicable only by conspiracy theories: how neat that John Inverdale's perennial criticisms of women's tennis should read like verdicts on himself." The irony "would be lost on John, of course, for whom subtlety will for ever be a closed book." But if the producers of next year's flagship "Today At Wimbledon" show are short of ideas, "might I suggest that during Inverdale's opening monologue on day one of the 2014 championships, he is literally removed from the set." Getting the hook, they "used to call it in vaudeville, after the practice of physically yanking bad acts off stage with an extended shepherd's crook." Perhaps the greatest trick Inverdale has pulled "is his apparent success in convincing his bosses that the Bartoli business was some form of clumsy aberration, when in fact it is entirely of a piece with the manner in which he has covered the sport since I can remember" (GUARDIAN, 7/10).

ATTRACTING ATTENTION: Also in London, Hadley Freeman opined, "To my mind, the most shocking aspect of the Inverdale episode is not that he dribbled such sexist diarrhoea -- there will always be idiots out there -- but that the BBC still allowed him to commentate on the men's singles final the next day." Yet, "while Inverdale has attracted the most attention, there was another strong current of sexism that ran throughout the fortnight, one that has become an annual feature of not just Wimbledon -- although it is certainly that -- but any event in this country that involves high-profile men." Throughout Wimbledon, "the girlfriends of the male players were gawked at and purred over, their attributes detailed as clinically as discussions of the players' diets." No shot of Murray's in the final, successful or otherwise, "was deemed complete by the BBC without a cutaway shot to Kim Sears sitting in the stands." Sears "was deemed by more than one paper to fare especially poorly against the girlfriend of Jerzy Janowicz, who had thrillingly posed in Playboy." Despite "that unarguable advantage," Janowicz still lost to Murray in the semifinal (GUARDIAN, 7/9).

Nigerian football authorities have suspended four teams involved in "mind-boggling" playoff results, describing the 79-0 and 67-0 scorelines as "scandalous," according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine FC went into their respective games level on points, both needing convincing wins to earn promotion to the lowest tier of the Nigeria Nationwide League. The Nigerian Football Federation described the results as "a mind-boggling show of shame never previously witnessed in Nigeria." Nigerian Football Federation Organizing Committee Chair Muke Umeh said, "It is unacceptable -- a scandal of huge proportions. The teams are suspended indefinitely, pending further sanctions" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/10).

The newly-formed Scottish Professional Football League has confirmed the departure of Scottish Football League CEO David Longmuir after he "failed to land the role of chief executive." Longmuir and Scottish Football League CEO Neil Doncaster "were the only two candidates in the running for the job with the game's new governing body." Doncaster "was last week appointed to the role'' (DAILY RECORD, 7/10). ... The Italian Football Federation has confirmed that Italian sides Lazio, Genoa, Lecce and eight players including Stefano Mauri "will face various charges relating to Calcioscommesse." Federal prosecutors have been "putting forward the three clubs and a number of players to face the National Disciplinary Commission on a series of charges relating to alleged involvement in the fixing of Lazio-Genoa and Lecce-Lazio" in May '11 (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 7/10). ... Scandal "is erupting" after Serie A side Roma "threatened legal action against a radio station that aired private conversations between their directors." The conversation between Roma Dir of Sport Walter Sabatini and GM Claudio Fenucci "was apparently recorded because one of the two men forgot to hang up the phone after they had spoken to the staff for an interview" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 7/9).