English FA

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Head of English soccer threatens to quit over reforms

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LONDON (AP) The head of the English Football Association has threatened to quit if a set of proposals to reform the governing body is not backed by the British government.

On Thursday, lawmakers will debate a motion of “no confidence” in the FA’s ability to reform itself and meet its duties as a governing body, with critics accusing the association of a lack of diversity and unhappy with its antiquated structure.

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FA chairman Greg Clarke said he accepts that “our governance needs changing” and is “confident it will happen” once he puts proposals before the government, which could call for laws to be brought in to change the structure of the world’s oldest soccer federation.

“If the government is not supportive of the changes when they are presented in the coming months, I will take personal responsibility for that. I will have failed. I will be accountable for that failure and would in due course step down from my role,” Clarke said in an open letter published late Tuesday. “However, I don’t believe that the FA is failing football.”

The debate is taking place in the House of Commons after five former FA executives said the governing body had failed to self-reform and was “outdated” as it was being held back by “elderly white men.”

British Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said in July that the FA would lose up to 40 million pounds ($50 million) of public funding if it did not reform. In December, she said the government would bring in legislation to force through reforms if the governing body did not make changes itself.

In announcing the House of Commons debate, the Culture, Media and Sport committee said last week that “it is clear there appears to be considerable resistance to the idea of changing its very out-of-date structure at all.” It said the committee is preparing a draft bill to “bring the structure of the FA – which is, in legal terms, a company – into line with modern company law.”

Clarke said the FA needs to be “more diverse, more open about decision-making and we do need to better represent those playing the game,” but has yet to go public with his proposals.

There is only one woman on the FA’s 12-person board, while reform of the body’s 120-person council has proved to be beyond a long line of recent FA chairmen.

FA fines Man City’s Sagna over “10 against 12” Instagram message

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LONDON (AP) The English Football Association has fined Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna 40,000 pounds (around $50,000) for an Instagram post about a referee.

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Sagna posted a photo with the caption “10 against 12.. but still fighting and winning as a team” on the social network site following City’s 2-1 win against Burnley on Jan. 2.

Sagna later amended the post to read “still fighting and winning as a team” after a match that saw referee Lee Mason send off midfielder Fernandinho.

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The FA also warned Sagna about his future conduct.

Report: PFA asks FA to consider ban on heading for kids under 10

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English football seems set to follow in the footsteps of the American game, as the Professional Footballers’ Association has urged the English Football Association to consider a ban on heading the ball for children under the age of 10, according to a report from the Telegraph.

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U.S. Soccer announced last November a new youth-level initiative that would “(a) improve concussion awareness and education among youth coaches, referees, parents and players; (b) implement more uniform concussion management and return-to-play protocols for youth players suspected of having suffered a concussion” in an attempt to better protect players aged 13 and under.

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The PFA’s call to action is founded on a study, conducted by the University of Stirling, which uncovered “frightening anecdotal evidence of former players suffering with serious brain conditions.” A terrifying statistic from the study:

The Stirling study reported a reduction in memory performance of 41-67 per cent in the 24 hours after players headed a football 20 times that was delivered with the pace and power of a corner kick. Memory function did return to normal 24 hours later but, with many former footballers being diagnosed with brain conditions in later life, the call for urgent and more detailed research has grown ever louder.

Mourinho formally charged with improper conduct (yes, again)

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They considered his fate, and the refrain is oh-so-familiar: The English Football Association has charged Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho with misconduct.

Mourinho has until Thursday evening to dispute the charge of improper action for an outburst that got him sent to the stands Sunday against West Ham United.

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If the charge goes through, Mourinho could be missing from the dugout for the second time this season. The 53-year-old Portuguese coach has faced fines and other punishment for comments on officials relating to United’s matches versus Liverpool and Burnley.

The Special One has been especially salty during United’s less-than-ideal start to the Premier League season, as both his reputation and antics have conspired against him.

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Burnley’s Andre Gray given 4-game ban for homophobic Twitter posts from 2012

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Burnley striker Andre Gray has been handed a four-game ban by the English Football Association after a hearing over misconduct charges stemming from a series of homophobic Twitter posts from 2012.

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Gray, now 25, was charged by the FA in August, three days after the posts were brought to light, the same day he scored his first PL goal in a 2-0 upset of Liverpool.

Said Burnley, on the club’s official site:

Gray was found guilty of six aggravated breaches of FA Rule E3(1) regarding comments deemed to be “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or bringing the game into disrepute”.

The breaches also included reference to an “aggravating factor”, namely, sexual orientation and/or gender and/or colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3(2).

Gray admitted three of the breaches, but denied a further three. However, following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, on Thursday, September 22, these three were found proven.

In the above linked statement, Burnley have said the club and the player accept the FA’s decision, and they will not appeal. Gray will also pay a fine of £25,000 ($32,000) and has been “ordered to attend a one-to-one FA education course.”

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Gray came forth with a public apology the day he was charged by the FA, part of which read, “I have a lot of regrets regarding a number of things I’ve done in the past and realize I have made some big mistakes, none more so than these tweets, but I would like to stress that I’ve worked incredibly hard to completely transform my life since that time.”