Former Brazilian women’s team players protesting federation

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A group of former Brazilian women’s national team players have signed an open letter criticizing their federation following the dismissal of coach Emily Lima.

[ MORE: USMNT thrashes Panama in crucial WCQ match ]

The group includes Formiga, who currently plays professionally for Paris Saint-Germain in France but retired from the national team last year after a record-breaking career that included every Olympic women’s tournament.

“We, the players, have invested years of our own lives and all of our energy to build this team and this sport to its strength today,” Friday’s letter said. “Yet we, and almost all other Brazilian women, are excluded from the leadership and decision-making for our own team and our own sport.”

Lima, the first woman ever to coach Brazil’s national team, was fired late last month after less than a year on the job. The team went 7-5-1 during her short tenure.

Following her dismissal, several veteran players, including Cristiane and Fran, stepped down from the team. They were among those who signed the open letter, along with Formiga.

“Over many years we have lived and watched in despair as Brazil’s women were neglected by CBF (the Brazilian soccer confederation). The events of the last week – where players’ voices were ignored, and some are now retiring in protest – is the result of a long history of lockout,” it read. “While some validly choose to remain inside the team and seek change from within, the fact that players have to make such a choice raises bigger issues. It has made us determined to speak out and demand change.”

The players called on CBF to include women in leadership and decision-making positions, and to help provide a path for players to pursue coaching jobs.

Cristiane spread the letter to social media with the hashtag (hash)hearhervoice.

“Today I’m posting a very important document, which I’ve signed together with many legends of the Brazil team. Please join many other former national team players from around the world by supporting & sharing our request for gender equality in Brazil football,” she said on Instagram.

The CBF did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Oswaldo Alvarez, known as Vadao, was hired to replace Lima. Vadao was the coach of the team before Lima replaced him, but he was dismissed after the Brazilians failed to reach the podium at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Marta, perhaps the best known current Brazilian player, said a week ago that she did not plan to step down.

[ MORE: El Tri honors first responders from devastating earthquake ]

“I will not stop playing for Brazil. Whenever they want me I will be willing to go,” the 31-year-old five-time FIFA World Player of the Year said about a week ago. “I am very sad, these athletes still have a lot to give. I hope the girls take it back so we can fight like we did all our lives, asking for improvements, pay rises and whatever is needed.”

Marta plays professionally in the United State for the Orlando Pride, which is set to play Saturday in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals against the Portland Thorns.

LIVE, FA Cup: Swansea v Tottenham kicks off quarterfinals

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Swansea City host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (8:15 a.m. ET) at the Liberty Stadium with both teams perhaps having an eye on other things rather than winning the FA Cup.

[ LIVE: Follow Swansea-Spurs ] 

Carlos Carvalhal‘s main aim for the Swans is to avoid relegation from the Premier League, while Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham will be fully focused on finishing in the top four.

In team news both Jordan and Andre Ayew miss out for Swansea as Carvalhal makes five changes, while Spurs are without the injured Harry Kane and make seven changes to their starting lineup with Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli on the bench.


Swansea City: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mawson, Olsson, Ki Sung-Yeung, Carroll , Clucas, Dyer, Abraham. Subs: Mulder, Roberts, Fernandez, Britton, Byers, Routledge, Narsingh

Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Sissoko, Lamela, Eriksen, Lucas, Son. Subs: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Foyth Dembele, Alli, Moura, Llorente

Retailer removes T-shirt from sale over Hillsborough links

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LONDON (AP) A British retailer has withdrawn a T-shirt from sale in its stores and online following complaints that its design could be associated with the Hillsborough soccer disaster.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man City drawn in UCL quarterfinals ]

Topman had on sale a red shirt with a large “96” on the back and the phrase “what goes around comes around” underneath. The word “Karma” is written on one of the sleeves.

Ninety-six people were crushed to death in the Hillsborough stadium disaster, which happened in Sheffield in April 1989 at an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Topman said it “apologizes unreservedly for any offense caused by this T-shirt” and that the “garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.”

The retailer said the design was inspired by a Bob Marley track, with the number referring to the year of the re-release.

Cosmos, Miami FC petition USSF for 2018 U.S. Open Cup entry

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NASL’s decision to cancel the 2018 regular season has caused significant ramifications, with the latest forcing several clubs to be excluded from the U.S. Open Cup.

The New York Cosmos and Miami FC — both of whom participated in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup have not been named among the eligible teams for the 2018 edition following NASL’s cancellation of the league season.

Now, the two teams have petitioned to U.S. Soccer and its new president, Carlos Cordeiro, to rethink its decision and allow the clubs to play despite not belonging to a professional league.

Both clubs do boast reserve teams though — New York Cosmos B and Miami 2 — which is the lead argument from each organization as to why U.S. Soccer should grant the teams an exemption and a spot in the tournament.

Cosmos B and Miami FC 2 will both play in the NPSL once again in 2018, with both rosters largely comprised of senior team players.

As it stands, 94 teams have been placed in the 2018 Open Cup field, as announced by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday.

Both open letters from the respective clubs can be found below.

Brazil’s Luis could miss World Cup after leg fracture

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MADRID (AP) Brazilian left back Filipe Luis has a leg fracture that could stop him going to the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Arsenal draws CSKA Moscow in Europa quarters ]

Atletico Madrid said Friday that Luis sustained the injury to his left leg in the second half of the Spanish team’s 5-1 rout of Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League round-of-16 match on Thursday.

The club did not say how long Luis will be sidelined. Similar injuries have required at least six weeks of recovery time and longer if surgery is required.

The 32-year-old Luis was called up by Brazil coach Tite for friendlies against Russia in Moscow on March 23 and against Germany in Berlin on March 27. Brazil’s first game at the World Cup is against Switzerland on June 17.

Luis was injured while trying to prevent Lokomotiv forward Eder taking a shot from inside the area in the 60th minute. He successfully cleared the ball but his leg was hit from behind.

Luis left the field on a stretcher and tests Friday in Madrid confirmed the fracture in his lower leg.

Atletico advanced 8-1 on aggregate after the victory in Russia.

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