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Rodriguez racial abuse charge found “not proven”

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West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez will not face punishment for an alleged racist incident against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Gulls’ Gaetan Bong claimed that Rodriguez racially abused him during a Jan. 13 match, and Rodriguez was charged by the Football Association.

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Fired manager Alan Pardew reportedly spoke up for Rodriguez at the hearing, after which the charge was found to be “not proven.”

The club released a statement following the verdict, with West Brom director of football administration Richard Garlick saying:

“Everyone at the Club is delighted for Jay because this has been a trying period for him. He has always maintained his innocence and we are naturally pleased the Commission has dismissed the charge.”

West Ham fallout: Multiple closed door home matches considered

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It seems the fallout from West Ham’s wild weekend is only beginning, as the English Football Association reviews its options to punish the Premier League club following a chaotic 3-0 loss to Burnley at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-3 Burnley ]

Fans clashed with stewards and there were multiple pitch invasions highlighted (or lowlighted) by Hammers players Mark Noble and James Collins coming together with protesting fans.

Sky Sports says playing multiple matches behind closed doors is an option being considered by a three-person committee.

There was initial concern West Ham could suffer a points deduction for Saturday’s incidents, with the Irons just three points clear of the drop zone.

“The atmosphere was horrible,” said West Ham’s Mark Noble. “To be honest we know a lot of it isn’t aimed at the players, it’s other reasons, but we got to be men enough to be able to play in that atmosphere. It’s hard don’t get me wrong when you’ve got 50, 60-thousand here and a big percentage are not happy with where the club is, so the players take the brunt of it.”

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.

[ MORE: Klopp, Liverpool still consulting lawyers over absurd Matip situation ]

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.

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

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.