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UEFA introduces minimum standards framework for women’s national teams

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UEFA has introduced a first-ever minimum standards framework for women’s national teams to help level the playing field for female players across Europe.

The framework, which was unanimously approved by the UEFA Executive Committee in June, sets out a range of standards encompassing provisions covering sporting, good governance, coaching, medical care, training, player welfare, accommodation and remuneration. Their development involved extensive consultations with players, coaches and FIFPRO Europe.

“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of our five-year women’s football strategy, Time for Action”, said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. “While this is a significant milestone, we are already looking ahead to the next steps. As we advance, UEFA remains fully dedicated to supporting our member associations and empowering players.”

Support for national associations

Europe’s governing body will assist its members to draw up implementation plans adapted to their specific challenges in meeting the minimum standards. In addition, the framework will be supported via the UEFA HatTrick Incentive Programme, with a total pot of €22 million being made available to national associations until 2028 (€100,000 per national association per year).

Northern Ireland international Marissa Callaghan, one of 35 national team captains consulted in developing this initiative shared her enthusiasm saying: “Setting minimum standards will make a significant difference for players across Europe in every aspect of national team football. Having a platform to discuss with fellow players and coaches was a positive and enriching experience. I look forward to seeing players continuing to be closely involved throughout this journey.”

Best conditions to perform

“This project is an important one and is a starting point to raise the bar across all women’s national teams,” said Nadine Kessler, UEFA Managing Director for women’s football. “Having the best possible conditions on and off the pitch is absolutely vital for players to perform and in return bring success to their national teams. We have a highly competitive landscape nowadays, so standards must be grown alongside them. Only then can teams unleash their full potential and we can safeguard the longevity of players’ careers.”

Sarah Gregorius, FIFPro Europe Director of Global Policy & Strategic Relations for Women’s Football, said: “We welcome this important step for women’s national team football, which is the outcome of an inclusive consultative approach involving players and FIFPro Europe. The framework promotes and incentivises standards that put the protection and needs of the players at its heart, and they thoroughly deserve this. We remain fully engaged for further positive developments to occur.”

The UEFA minimum standards for women’s national teams include:

Full-time head coach with UEFA Pro License (or equivalent qualification) available at the national association
Minimum one team doctor/two physiotherapists at all matches and training sessions
Travel to match venues which prioritises the most direct route
High-quality accommodation near training/match venues 
Maximum use of international windows
Access to national training facilities, including elite equipment and professionally maintained pitches
Players and association agreement on remuneration, parental and pregnancy policies and anti-discrimination
This programme is the latest in a series of strategic UEFA initiatives designed to grow, develop, and support women’s national team football. These include the introduction of a new competition system, consisting of the UEFA Nations League and European qualifiers.

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Xavi faces sack at Barcelona

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Barcelona are poised to sack coach Xavi Hernandez just weeks after he made a U-turn and decided to stay at the club, Spanish

Barcelona are poised to sack coach Xavi Hernandez just weeks after he made a U-turn and decided to stay at the club, Spanish media has reported.

Catalan radio station RAC-1 said president Joan Laporta had decided to sack Xavi, with daily newspaper Sport confirming the news, while AS said Barcelona were already deciding who would replace the coach.

In January, Xavi said he would leave at the end of the season but, after a run of strong form, in April he and president Joan Laporta agreed the coach would stay for the next campaign, with his contract expiring in June 2025.

However, Laporta did not travel with the team for their 2-0 in at Almeria in La Liga on Thursday, with Spanish media reporting he was angry with Xavi’s pre-match comments.

The coach had highlighted Barcelona’s financial difficulties in comparison to the strength of new Spanish champions Real Madrid and other European giants.

“Barcelona fans have to understand, we’re not in the same situation (as those clubs),” said Xavi on Wednesday.

The coach stood by his words on Thursday when he was asked about Laporta not attending the Almeria match.

“They haven’t told me anything personally… We travelled with the sporting vice-president, more directors, all normally,” Xavi told reporters late Thursday. “I said what I think is real, that we will fight for all the trophies, with a lot of hope, with ambition, but that the situation is not easy.

“We are working very well, the club most of all, to change this situation.”

Barcelona won La Liga last season but were not able to defend the title. They went out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals to Paris Saint-Germain and will end the season trophy less.

Real Madrid thrashed Barca in the Spanish Super Cup final while Athletic Bilbao eliminated them in the Copa del Rey.

In April, Xavi, 44, said he was “full of hope” and that fans, players and “above all the confidence of the president and (sporting director) Deco” was what convinced him to stay.

Laporta said at the time that he was glad Xavi would remain at the helm and that it was good for the stability of the club.

“It’s great news that Xavi is staying,” the president told a news conference.

“The team we have, that is (still) consolidating, with very young players, needs that stability.

“Xavi is a reference for young players and we can see that – today I’m especially pleased, and the board have unanimously supported this decision.”

Laporta appointed Xavi, one of Barcelona’s greatest ever midfielders, to replace Ronald Koeman in November 2021.

As a player, Xavi made 767 appearances for Barcelona, winning four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga titles, as well as the World Cup with Spain.

During his time as Barcelona coach, he lifted the Spanish Super Cup last season, along with the league title.

 

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Kane to miss Bayern’s game at Hoffenheim

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Harry Kane will miss Bayern Munich's final game of the season with a back injury - less than a week before Gareth Southgate announces his

Harry Kane will miss Bayern Munich’s final game of the season with a back injury – less than a week before Gareth Southgate announces his England squad for Euro 2024.

Bayern end their campaign at Hoffenheim on Saturday – live on Sky Sports – but Kane has not travelled with the squad.

“Harry Kane is receiving treatment from his personal doctor,” said Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel. “He can’t travel with us.”

Kane has not played since being replaced late in Bayern’s 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final second leg earlier this month.

Bayern were leading 1-0 in the Bernabeu – and 3-2 on aggregate – when Kane was replaced but conceded two late goals to exit the competition.

Tuchel explained after that defeat that striker Kane had suffered a back injury and on Friday he said: “It was already questionable in Madrid. It’s gotten worse.”

Bayern have endured a difficult campaign, failing to win the Bundesliga for the first time in 12 seasons and exiting the DFB Pokal to third-tier Saarbrucken.

owever, Kane has enjoyed a prolific campaign on an individual level, scoring 44 goals in 45 games across all competitions after joining Bayern from Tottenham in August.

 

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Van Persie lands first managerial role with Heerenveen

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Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie has been appointed as manager of Eredivisie side Heerenveen, the

Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie has been appointed as manager of Eredivisie side Heerenveen, the Dutch club has announced.

The 40-year-old, who retired from playing in 2019, has signed a two-year contract in his first role as manager of a senior team.

He has previously spent time working at Feyenoord, the club he began and ended his playing career with, where he took charge of the under-18s side.

Van Persie is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands national team and was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2012, one year before he won the Premier League title with Manchester United.

Heerenveen, who are 10th in the Eredivisie, face Sparta Rotterdam in their final match of the season tomorrow.

 

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