Stephanie Frappart is set to make history on Wednesday, when she becomes the first woman to referee a major UEFA’s men fixture — the UEFA Super Cup between Champions League winners Liverpool and Europa League winners Chelsea, in Istanbul, Turkey.
[ MORE: Frank de Boer calls equal pay at international level “ridiculous” ]
The 35-year-old Frenchwoman made history earlier this year when she took charge of a Ligue 1 fixture between Amiens and Strasbourg. It’s that experience, along with her years of experience and training, which have her and her crew featuring two female assistants — the same group that together officiated the Women’s World Cup final in July — feeling plenty prepared for the occasion (quotes from talkSPORT):
“Of course we feel ready. We train a lot, all the time, we’re not afraid of this game as we’re always ready for all the games.
“I think there is not a lot of difference, because football is the same. Refereeing is the same, football is the same, I would do the same I do in women’s football.”
“I’m now popular all over the world, but I was also appointed in Ligue 1, so I know the feelings and emotions and how to manage them and how to train for [the occasion]. This is not my first appointment.”
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard welcomed the inclusion of women into important roles in the men’s game, calling Frappart’s appointment “a historical moment”:
“I think the game has come on a long way in many ways, in terms of the women’s World Cup which we all watched this summer, in terms of how much respect the game is getting, how many people are watching it and the interest in the game.
“I think we were very slow everywhere on this and now we are trying to make strides, and there’s still a long way to go but in terms of tomorrow I think it’s a huge moment. It’s a historical moment that is one more step in the right direction.”
[ MORE: Man United shut door on Paul Pogba departure ]
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp echoed Lampard’s sentiments, intimating that such a moment is long overdue.
“Finally, it’s time. I’m happy to be a part of this historic moment. It’s a smart decision to have women referee a very, very important game. It’s the first time, but I hope it’s not the last.”
Hometown hero Andy Carroll is on the bench for Newcastle United as the Magpies host Brighton and Hove Albion in an early season six-pointer at St. James’ Park (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
That is if you’re comfortable with the term six-pointer in Week Six. We bet both these teams are well aware of the import either way.
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE
Steve Bruce‘s Black and White Army has Carroll in the team for the first time since being sold to Liverpool nearly a decade ago.
“A bit old school, if you like to say that, but certainly in his time I don’t think there has been anybody better in the last eight or ten years, when he’s been playing, of that certain type of centre forward as Andy Carroll. It’s going to be huge and it will be great for us going forward, that’s for sure,” Bruce said before the game.”
Meanwhile for Brighton, long-time stars Shane Duffy and Glenn Murray are again on the bench to start the fight up north.
Brighton and Hove Albion
A report from The Times states that Liverpool paid Manchester City over $1.2 million back in 2013 over a complaint about City’s scouting system being hacked.
Our partners at Sky Sports say their sources confirm the payment was made, while they also have a statement from Liverpool on the matter.
“Liverpool Football Club does not provide any comment on any allegations relating to legal agreements it may or may not have entered into with any other club, organisation or individual.”
Per the original report, the settlement was agreed without Liverpool or any individuals connected to them accepting liability. Plus, the allegations and information were never put up in a court of law.
Three scouts moved from Man City to Liverpool less than a year before the settlement was reached.
Man City allege that two of those scouts, plus current Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards, were involved in accessing a database via the Scott7 system.
City brought in experts to see if their system had been hacked.
The Times says this would be “the biggest incident of alleged misbehavior by one top-flight club to another in the Premier League’s history.”
That is spot on.
Of course, employees move from one Premier League club to another all of the time, and there is nothing that suggests this is more widespread.
But the private settlement becoming public knowledge will no doubt stir up plenty of controversy as Liverpool and Man City go head-to-head for the Premier League title once again.
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is keeping his cool about the Foxes’ decent start to the Premier League season.
The Foxes beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday to move back into the Top Four, four points behind leaders Liverpool.
[ MORE: Match recap | Pochettino reacts ]
Leicester has now beaten Spurs, Bournemouth, and Sheffield United, drawn Wolves and Chelsea, and lost away to Manchester United last week (in a match it was arguably superior to the hosts).
Rodgers loved his team’s day, which was challenged by VAR taking away goals from both sides, but knows the big picture is a big challenge.
“A brilliant team performance,” he said. “Very early days, we have had a tough start. We will get into the New Year and see where we are February, March.”
As for VAR, Rodgers saw an early Leicester goal pulled back for offside, but the system also determined that Heung-Min Son was offside by the finest bit of his rotator cuff before Serge Aurier made it 2-0 to Spurs.
Back to 1-0, Leicester equalized within moments through Ricardo Pereira before James Maddison scored a wonder-strike to win it for the hosts.
“It’s what happens with VAR, you have to get your head round it. It works for you and against you. Worked both ways for us today. … We spoke with the players in pre season about VAR. You have to deal with it, sometimes for you and against you. Have to accept it and move on. It was a very important three points.”
Mauricio Pochettino worked a marvel with the English language in describing how VAR affected the late stages of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Spurs looked to have doubled its home lead with 20 minutes to play when Serge Aurier belted a far post shot past the reach of Kasper Schmeichel, but a lengthy video review showed Heung-Min Son‘s shoulder was maybe possibly offside.
[ RECAP: Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham ]
Clear and obvious? Mehhhhhhh.
Pochettino, oddly enough, chose not to debate the call but instead focused on the momentum he believes it provided to Leicester City en route to Ricardo Pereira‘s near-immediate answer and James Maddison‘s late winner.
“After 80 minutes, the game was going to be over. You gave massive belief to the team that was already dead. After we conceded the goal 1-1, we had some chances to score the second goal, but that’s what makes the Premier League the most beautiful league. You can never stop.”
He was optimistic on the overall performance following a disheartening 2-2 draw with Olympiacos at midweek, as Spurs threw away a 2-0 first half lead over the Greek hosts.
“Very disappointed because we lost the three points but in thinking the big picture I am very optimistic because the team showed great reaction after Olympiacos.”
Meanwhile, much of the rest of Twitter’s soccer world was a bit less forgiving of VAR. Even Leicester City legend Gary Lineker sent venom to the Video Assistant Referee.