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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

Mark Sampson has been sacked as head coach of England's women's football team "after a new witness came forward with allegations of inappropriate behaviour separate to Eni Aluko's claims of bullying and discrimination," according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. Sampson's departure came "less than 24 hours after being hugged by his players" after overseeing England's 6-0 win over Russia. The 34-year-old Welshman had been "under pressure for the last two months after details of complaints by Aluko were made public." The FA "stood by the coach throughout the storm that followed" but the governing body was "left with little alternative than to take action" after it was contacted by a witness making new allegations, unrelated to Aluko's complaints, about Sampson. The allegations reportedly date back to when Sampson was coach of Bristol Academy's women's team between '09 and '13. The latest allegations turned the controversy into a "full-blown crisis" and led to FA Chair Greg Clarke and CEO Martin Glenn "abandoning plans to travel" to UEFA's congress in Geneva this week "to handle the issue" (LONDON TIMES, 9/20).

La Liga reportedly "handed out a fine to Celta Vigo" for its "low attendances at the start of the season," according to the London TELEGRAPH. The club recorded crowds of 16,961 and 17,384 in its first two home matches at Balaídos Stadium, which has a capacity of 29,000. La Liga rules state that clubs "have to fill a minimum requirement" of 70% of their stadiums. Regulations that came into effect this season demand that "sections of grounds which appear prominently on television must be fully populated by fans" (TELEGRAPH, 9/20). LIBERTAD DIGITAL reported La Liga sources said that the league "has not fined Celta Vigo for matters related to attendance" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 9/20).

A threat "prompted the decision not to fly national flags or play anthems" at Northern Ireland women's World Cup qualifier with the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, according to the BBC. UEFA made the decision before the game at Mourneview Park in Lurgan "after safety concerns were raised." The FA of Ireland said that the decision was made "after information received by police and the match venue around safety concerns." The "nature of the threat is unclear." It had been planned to allow both flags and play both anthems at Tuesday's game, which the Republic of Ireland won 2-0. Northern Ireland's FA said in a statement that after safety concerns were raised "it was agreed with the Uefa match delegate that neither national anthem be played or flag be flown before the game" (BBC, 9/20).

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin "challenged European governments to help bring about greater competitive balance within the game, not least allowing salary caps which has long been close to the Slovenian’s heart." Čeferin used his address to UEFA’s extraordinary Congress to "highlight a list of changes he would like to see in European football," acknowledging that many of them can not be done "without government legislation" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/20).

Belgian football officials are "waiting to find out whether Brussels will be able to stage matches at the pan-European Euro 2020." The building of a new Brussels stadium has "run into delays involving the applications for construction and environmental permits" and the Belgian FA said that it is up to UEFA to decide how long it wants to "wait for more progress" (REUTERS, 9/19).

The All India Football Federation launched limited edition lifestyle merchandise of the Indian national team for fans, for the first time. AIFF aims to provide a "unique opportunity to the Indian football fans to express their fandom." The merchandise collection has a "wide range" including T-shirts, Polo T- shirts, wristbands, badges, phone covers and posters (PTI, 9/20).

Second Bundesliga side St. Pauli had a player attacked when the squad tried to stop Holstein Kiel hooligans from attacking fans at a match on Tuesday. The Hamburg side was warming up "before black-clad Ultra hooligans from the home side attacked the visitors with flares." Players interrupted their preparations to "chase away the thugs and grab back the banners they proudly display" (THE SUN, 9/20).