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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

Mexico's Clasico Nacional and all other Liga MX matches this weekend have been postponed "after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked the capital and surrounding states on Tuesday," according to Tom Marshall of ESPN.com. Liga MX came to the decision on Wednesday, announcing that now is "time to help" the earthquake rescue effort. The statement indicated the league "consulted with municipal, state and federal government agencies regarding the decision." Games scheduled for this weekend will be played on Oct. 17 and 18. The Copa MX round of 16 games missed earlier this week will take place on Oct. 24 and 25. Club América was due to host Mexico's "most-hyped club rivalry" in Estadio Azteca on Saturday, with over 70,000 fans expected. The club said that it did not want to "divert security and police away from the clean-up operation," and added that its players and coaching staff -- including Manager Miguel Herrera -- will all be "volunteering in helping the region rebuild." The money generated from ticket sales "when the game is eventually played will all be donated to the reconstruction effort." Many Mexican clubs "used their stadiums and facilities as collection points for vital material to send to the affected" (ESPN.com, 9/20).

Women in Football said that it is “deeply concerned” by the latest revelations surrounding former England women's Manager Mark Sampson and claimed that questions about Sampson’s suitability for the job "were flagged" to the FA as early as '13, according to Martha Kelner of the London GUARDIAN. Sampson, who was appointed England manager in Dec. '13, was sacked on Wednesday after the FA said that it had been alerted to "clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach" while he was at Bristol Academy. In a statement, Women in Football said, "WiF understands that questions over Sampson’s suitability for the role were flagged to the FA as early as 2013 during the recruitment process. The safeguarding investigation of 2014, Sampson being sent on an education course in 2015, Eniola Aluko’s complaint in 2016 and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care report published in April 2017 were all missed opportunities for the governing body to more closely examine the issues." FA CEO Martin Glenn, meanwhile, "will be questioned by MPs about why he did not ask sooner to see the full details of the safeguarding allegations made against Sampson concerning his time at Bristol Academy." U.K. Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Chair Damian Collins believes Glenn "should lose his job" if it is found advice and warnings that might have seen the contract of Sampson terminated earlier were ignored (GUARDIAN, 9/21). The BBC reported the FA said that Dirs Kelly Simmons and Dan Ashworth, who were involved in Sampson's recruitment, "were not aware of any allegations before hiring him," but England players were reportedly "aware" of rumors. Former Football Development Dir Trevor Brooking and ex-Head of Communications Adrian Bevington, who also took part in the process, have declined to comment. Karen Walker, who was capped 83 times from '88-03, said that the treatment of Sampson had been "unfair." She said, "It does seem like a bit of a witch-hunt to bring up something from how many years ago that's already been looked at. It doesn't seem right" (BBC, 9/21).

UEFA confirmed the final competition rules and regulations for its Nations League. The new national team competition, which will begin on September 6, 2018, aims to ensure the continued success of national team football by replacing most friendlies with competitive matches. The format will feature promotion and relegation and see the 55 European national teams divided into four leagues (UEFA).

Belgium's football execs have been "given an end-of-November deadline to convince UEFA they can deliver a stadium to host part of Euro 2020." Brussels' Eurostadium was picked to host three group-stage games and a Round of 16 knockout match but construction has been "fraught with political and legislative problems." UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said that "Stockholm, Cardiff and Wembley have all been put on stand-by to step in if necessary" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/21).

The English Football League will advise its clubs to "follow the lead of the Premier League and bring forward the close of the transfer window from next season," according to British media reports. England's 72 lower-league clubs met at Villa Park on Thursday to "consider the impact of a shorter window." Should a majority of the clubs want change, a formal ballot would take place at February's meeting of EFL clubs (REUTERS, 9/21).

A "Super White Army" banner was covered up during an England women's football match after a picture of it was shared online by one of the team's players. The sign at National League side Tranmere Rovers' ground was "obscured by the FA for the Lionesses' World Cup qualifier" on Tuesday. The Tranmere Rovers Supporters' Club said that it was "not remotely racist" and referred to its team's shirts (BBC, 9/21).

The Scottish Professional Football League said that it cannot take forward an "effective independent review" into the handling of Scottish Premiership side Rangers' EBT use. It expressed "disappointment" over the Scottish FA's decision not to participate and said that a review would have resulted in "a better understanding" of procedures (BBC, 9/21).

Brasileiro side Santos fans were "locked inside their own stadium for 20 minutes following violence from supporters" after the club's elimination from the Copa Libertadores. Fans of the club "battled outside the Vila Belmiro ground" after Ecuadorian side Barcelona's 1-0 win, "forcing police to lock the gates." TV station Globo said that supporters inside the stadium "tried to get into the Santos dressing room" (BBC, 9/21).

Sierra Leone FA President Isha Johansen was charged with "abuse of office and misuse of public funds" by the country's Anti-Corruption Commission. Johansen has been indicted on six counts, as has SLFA Secretary General Chris Kamara. Both were detained last year as the ACC investigated "potential abuse of funds" (BBC, 9/21).