The FA explains why the Manchester city charge was not proven

Arsenal Ladies will play Manchester City Women on Thursday the First of October following last week’s announcement that the charge had been found not proven. The FA have published the written reasons and they are just shambolic and damaging for the football’s governing body. And they are also certainly open to questioning.

Here is the FA statement on written reasons :

“Having considered all the evidence and on the basis of written and oral submissions, The FA Women’s Super League Management Committee was not able to satisfy itself that the Registration Form had not been received in the offices of The Football Association.

It was significant in the opinion of the Management Committee, that whilst the Registration Form could not be located and had not been processed, that written confirmation from The FA, in the form of email, had been received by Manchester City Women FC. 

This stated that the player, Kiera Walsh, had been registered prior to the match that was the subject of the charge taking place. In the light of the email and the overall course of events in this matter, it was the majority decision of the FA WSL Management Committee that the Rules of the FA WSL had not been broken in respect of the registration of Kiera Walsh

First, we learn that the charge was actually voted against by the committee and we do not know how it was voted except the result was not unanimous.

It is quite obvious that Manchester City have acted in good faith having sent the paperwork to the FA and then received an email from them confirming the registration. You can also find on the FA bulletin that Walsh was registered on the 1st of June 2015.

But the statement says that the form “could not be located and had not been processed”. So the FA had lost the form ? That is simply unbelievable, I mean we all make mistakes in our jobs but to lose a registration form takes the biscuit. The responsible FA employee is a dummy seriously speaking.

If the form has not been processed, why did the FA employee send an email to Manchester City saying the player had been registered ? That is not a logical way of doing things.

I am sure processing the registration means entering a lot of data in a computer. I am sorry, but if I am entering some data to complete a job for someone, I do NOT send an email saying the job is done until it is effectively done. Otherwise I am just  cutting corners. Does the FA employ people who are cutting corners in their job ? Surely not. I mean on a bigger scale it would mean many players are actually not correctly or not registered at all.

So, it does not make sense for someone at the FA to have sent an email stating the registration was made, if it had not been processed. Considering City were let-off because of that e-mail sent to them, it feels like something strange has happened behind the scene and it is a shame really.

It is a fact is the player’s registration was not processed, therefore City did play an unregistered player in good faith.

And yes I am an Arsenal Ladies  fan and therefore biased as my team would have benefited from City’s exclusion from the competition. So either it was a simple mistake by an FA employee or something else but we will never know as we will be kept in the dark forever.

Division 1 Feminine title race nearly over by Match Day 4 ?

The Division Feminine title race might be over for another year after Match day 4…. Well it is 90% likely to be over already.

Lyon hammered PSG by five goals to nil on Sunday, a result that will not surprise anyone considering PSG were so much behind with injuries and other problems in preparation for the big game.

As the tie breaker in case of team tied with points in the head to head record, PSG that are five points behind OL already would need to gain six points on them .Alternatively they can gain five points and beat OL by six goals but we know that kind of score line will never happen unless Lyon get three or four players sent off in a game. With a victory worth four points and a defeat worth one point, PSG would effectively need to see OL lose two games out of the next 18.

Let’s have a look at Lyon’s record in their last nine winning title seasons:

14/15 W22

13/14 W21 L1

12/13 W22

11/12 W19 D3

10/11 W22

09/10 W18 D2 L2

08/09 W21 D1

07/08 W18 D4

06/07 W20 D1 L1

It says 183 wins four defeats and 11 draws in the last nine seasons.

They have to play Juvisy and Montpellier home and away plus PSG away. OL performance level is so high and consistent that seeing them loose two League games would need exceptional performance from the opposition plus a very below par finishing on the day from them.

As we can see in the last five seasons, it has happened only once with PSG coming back from Stade Gerland with a 1-0 win. A feat that they managed to repeat in last season’s Champions League last 16 games.

Juvisy’s challenge seem to have faded away a bit in recent seasons and considering there are working under the semi-professional system with players training in the evening after work, it is hard to be competitive for them.

Montpellier have been improving slowly under coach Jean-Louis Saez. It is his third season in charge and has been making small steps every summer with intelligent recruitment to build up an exciting attacking side. But being at competitive level to be close to OL does take a lot of time and money.

PSG are in their fourth season with Farid Benstiti and the return on investment has been quite poor with no title and only a Champions League final to show for. They do not seem to have found a real team identity throughout the years and there is a recurrent injury problem.

This year their problems have compounded with recruitment being delayed due to internal problems with the direction and the market window being not open for the players originally planned as target. They ended up with a late recruitment surge that have left them short of preparation for the games against Montpellier and Lyon.

One very interesting explanation given by Farid Benstiti is when the clubs had the pre-season scheduling meeting with the FFF, the big names were asked to be planned around November for the 1st half of the season and they ended up being put in September.

So late players’ arrival plus injuries too many players meant PSG were totally out of sync against Lyon with no defenders available on the bench. That result was not a surprise at all. A consistent team with technical continuity battering a team still looking for their identity returned a 5-0 win.

So the only hope to have an interesting D1 feminine title race rest on the shoulders of outsiders Montpellier and Juvisy. Lyon v Juvisy will be played on Match day 8 on the first of November while Montpellier v Lyon will be played on Match day 11 on the 6th of December.

If Lyon win those two games they will be 98% guaranteed to win the League.

Phillipe Bergeroo ringing the generation change, is it the end of the road for Gaetane Thiney ?

With France starting their Euro 2017 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win against Romania after a 2-1 friendly win against Brazil at the week-end, a change of generation has started to happen into the French camp.

First, goalkeeper Celine Deville, the 33 years old with 65 caps, who has been a squad member for many tournaments Euro 2009, 2013, WC 2011, 2015 and Olympics 2012 was left out in favor of three younger goalkeepers Meline Gerard, Laetitia Phillipe and Amandine Guerin. The usual number one choice Sarah Bouhaddi is currently injured and out for a few months, we do not know if she will get called back once fit.

Then the biggest surprise has been Gaetane Thiney’s eviction from the 18 players squad against Romania. She was on the teamsheet against Brazil, as it was a friendly with the full 23 players squad named. Kadidiatou Diani and Clarisse Le Bihan.

Phillipe Bergeroo was asked in the press conference about Thiney’s situation, here is his answer: ” I am the manager of the team. I am not here to be liked. I am here to play the best players. There are loads of up and coming young players in the team. Everybody will get a chance. I put on Clarisse Le Bihan as a sub and she did well. I have been asked to prepare the future, I am keeping within this logic.  There was no conversation between me and the player.”

It might be the end of the road for the soon to be 30 years old Juvisy player who did not have a great World Cup. There were some  probably  unsubtantiated rumors of disagreements between the coach and her during the tournament. It will be interesting to see if the 127 caps and 55 goals forward will be called up next month for the double header friendly v Netherlands and qualifier away to Ukraine.

FA WSL Development League Cup fixtures released

With the introduction of a 19th team in the FA WSL, it was obvious that there would be a change in the FA WSL development League Cup format. We should expect changes  as well in the Continental Cup next season.

Here is the format as per the full-time website :

1st Round : Notts County  reserves v Sheffield reserves; Man City Reserves v Everton reserves ; Reading reserves v Watford reserves

2nd Round : All other FA WSL teams ie 13 teams given a bye to the Second Round.

Then QF,SF and final as usual. There is no indication on how the draw as been made to select the six teams that will be playing in the First Round.

The First Round games are to be played on the 4th of October 2015.

Brighton Women aiming high

There was an excellent article on Sunday’s Football League paper by Jacqui Oatley and she mentioned a conversation with Tracy Doe the head of Women’s and Girls football at Brighton and Howe Albion. “Our goal is Champions League football within five years”

It is good to see a football club investing in their Women section but within five years is a tough tough ask. I believe within ten years would have been a more achievable target. Here is why :

2015/16 : Should Brighton win the FA WPL play-offs and get promoted to FA WSL 2, then they will start playing FA WSL football in the 2017 season.

2017 : should Brighton finish in a promotion place, they would be going up and play WSL 1 football by 2018

2018 :  they would play in FA WSL 1 and therefore  wpoud beeligible to qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top two teams (as of today) . By that time England might have three places in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

2019 if they did not qualify first time, they would have another chance to qualify for the Champions League before 2020 as the top two or three teams in 2019 qualify for the UEFA WCL  2020/21 edition.

Basically, that target is very hard to reach as it includes a double promotion and having a maximum of two goes at qualifying for the tournament while in FA WSL 1.

As a side note, the only current Brighton Women player who has Champions League experience has won it when it was the UEFA Cup back in 2006/07. They also have one player with senior international football experience, so they will certainly have to sign a good number of players on their way to Champions League qualification.

FA WSL Continental Cup group stage now complete

The final game of the group stage was played yesterday afternoon with Watford Ladies defeating London Bees away by 3 goals to 2. We now know all the contenders for the Continental Cup quarter-finals ( sic).

Here is the final table for Group 1:

  1. Arsenal 15 pts
  2. Chelsea 12 pts
  3. Reading 9 pts
  4. Millwall 6 pts
  5. Watford 3 pts
  6. London Bees 0 pt

Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading are through to the quarter finals where they will play Manchester City, Birmingham and Notts County on the 13th of September ie two weeks ago.

The teams through to the semi-finals are Notts County, Liverpool, Birmingham and ?

As of today, we still do not know what is happening with the postponed Arsenal v Manchester City game.

As we all know Manchester City Women FC has been charged with fielding an ineligible player in The FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup and had until the 17th of September to respond to the charge.

As the deadline has now passed, you would expect some kind of communication from the FA, but there is nothing so far. we do not even know who is the supposedly ineligible player.

We do not know why the player was not registered properly and if the registration was not valid for one game only or if the League games might be  involved. It is a bizzare situation with a lack of transparency and you do wonder what will be the outcome of the charge. If there is a knock-on effect on the League results, the table might look really funny.

City’s results since the World Cup return are exceptional : W6 D1 in the League and W5 in the Continental Cup. it would be really strange to see a player being unregistered for a single game.

The competition semi-finals are supposed to be played on the 10/11th of October, so there is still time for the Arsenal v Man City game to be played, so we might not see anything from the FA for a while.

Manchester City player unregistered in the Continental Cup

One of the Continental Cup quarter-final tie has not been played this week-end. Arsenal v Manchester City was postoponed due to a Manchester City player problem.

Here is the FA WSL statement regarding Manchester City’s alleged ineligible player :

“It is alleged that the player was not registered with the FA WSL, in its match against Sunderland on Saturday 15 August 2015.

It is therefore alleged that the club is in breach of League Cup Rule 5 (Competition Rule 26.5) for fielding an ineligible player.

The club has until 17 September to respond to the charge.

As a result, this weekend’s FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup Quarter-Final fixture between Arsenal and Manchester City (Sunday 13 September) has been postponed“

Here is the competition rule 26.5 :

“Only players registered for a Club shall be eligible to play for that Club in any one Season. A player shall not play for more than one Club in the League Cup Competition during any one Season. A Club playing an ineligible player shall be removed from the Competition, and be subject to a fine as decided by the Management Committee

The players used by Manchester City on the day against Sunderland were:

Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Steph Houghton, Kathleen Radtke (Keira Walsh 57), Jennifer Beattie, Jill Scott, Isobel Christiansen, Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris, Daphne Corboz (Krystal Johnson 81)
If the charge is proven, Manchester City will be disqualified from the Continental Cup. Therefore you would think that Arsenal would go through to the semi-finals.

But what about the Sunderland game result ? Would it still stand? Would City get 3 points deducted giving them 12 points instead of 15 points.

Potential problem ramification :

It would not make any sense to have a player that is not registered for only one game only. I mean how could a player be registered for all the games she has played but one ?

So the possibility of having the same player guilty of not being registered for more Continental Cup games and League game would come into play.

This would come under the rules (P) (i) (ii)

“(P) (i) Any team playing an unregistered or otherwise ineligible player or players shall have the points gained in the Match deducted from its total, and may have up to three (3) points deducted from its total and may be fined and/or otherwise dealt with at the discretion of the Management Committee.

(ii) The Management Committee may, at its discretion, award the points available in the Match in question to the opponents, subject to the Match not being ordered to be replayed.

Also linked to this is the fine tariff 8 (P) (i)

Playing an ineligible player in a match £250 – £1000 And where the points gained in match will be deducted

Note that we have no idea on the identity of the unregistered player, so we cannot check what other games she has previously played in.

Put it is this way, if the player was actually unregistered for one game only, it means her registration was not put through correctly at the time and has been rectified since.

But it would also mean that the player would have been correctly registered for the previous City games like the Arsenal away League game a week before or would have been deregistered between that Arsenal game and the Continental Cup game.

What are the odds of City deregistering a player for one game only ? It does not make sense at all.

So we are maybe  talking here about a big can of worms, if City have used an unregistered player for more than that one game especially in the League. 

Under the rules (P) (i) (ii), there would be a points deduction for every game played by this player while she was unregistered and also a fine.

For example, if the same player was not correctly registered for the Arsenal away League game, City would be fined, would have 3 points from their win deducted. Then they could face another points deduction and also see Arsenal gain some points as well.

The FA WSL 1 table might see some changes in the near future…or Manchester City might have done their job correctly and cleared which would lead to the quarter final game to be played as soon as possible after the international break.