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Volume 10 No. 24

International Football

Chelsea and ManU are "facing the threat of legal action" after leading clubs were told they should "hang their heads in shame" at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans, according to Jeremy Wilson of the London TELEGRAPH. Almost half of all Premier League clubs reportedly do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, "despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August." Conservative peer Chris Holmes, who won nine Paralympic Gold Medals, said, "People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth. They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 percent there in terms of basic accessibility." The Equality & Human Rights Commission is investigating "potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices" but said that it is "being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs." EHRC CEO Rebecca Hilsenrath said, "This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use. It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League's own pledge deadline" (TELEGRAPH, 9/18).

Manchester-based virtual reality startup Mi-Hiepa Scout launched new technology "aimed at helping football clubs keep their squads in top form," according to Richard Bell of BDAILY. Mi-Hiepa Scout, created through a joint venture between developer Mi and sports data company Hiepa, designed a system to "help with rehabilitating players and securing fresh talent." The company said that it worked with Premier League clubs, physiotherapists and sports scientists to develop the VR technology and is "preparing for a full roll out this season." Mi-Hiepa Scout’s system "uses a proprietary limb tracking mechanism that analyses the movement of a player’s feet and shins independently in 3D" (BDAILY, 9/19).

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) on Monday said that Video Assistant Referees will "be introduced in the Brazilian first division." The announcement came a day after Corinthians beat Vasco da Gama "with a goal bundled into the net by an arm." Corinthians striker Jo "used his arm to score the only goal of the game in a move that was missed by the referee and assistant. In a statement, the CBF said, "Video Referees should be introduced in the Serie A as soon as possible" (REUTERS, 9/18).

Bundesliga side Cologne "backed down from demanding a replay" over a goal it claimed was "wrongly awarded" to Borussia Dortmund with the help of a VAR in its 5-0 defeat on Sunday. Cologne announced it would "lodge a protest and ask for the match to be replayed." But on Tuesday, the team said that the "chances of success for such a protest are slim" (REUTERS, 9/19).

Scottish football clubs are "taking mental health seriously" by encouraging their employees and volunteers to participate in courses funded by the Scottish Professional Football League Trust. The Trust is "funding mental health first aid courses, where anyone connected with a football club -- be they chaplains, office staff, kit-men, academy coaches or simply volunteers -- can learn vital life-saving skills" (SKY SPORTS, 9/19).

Sierra Leone FA President Isha Johansen will bid for re-election despite saying she suffered "intimidation" and "discrimination" during her first term. Africa's only female FA president "took charge" in '13 and her reign has been "blighted by controversy, infighting and the Ebola crisis." Johansen said, "I have decided to run for a second term in office -- after careful deliberation. I would like to finish what I started. There is unfinished business" (BBC, 9/19).

FIFA banned Caribbean Football Union President and Antigua and Barbuda FA General Secretary Gordon Derrick for six years from all football-related activities at the national and int'l levels. Derrick was found guilty of having violated the FIFA Code of Ethics (FIFA).

FIFA hosted the launch of the official emblem and slogan of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. France is often considered as being synonymous with history and style, elements echoed in the emblem which features the competition trophy wrapped in historic marinière stripes. At the top of the trophy is a stylized football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light to symbolize the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup (FIFA).