France’s Stephanie Frappart is set to become the first woman to officiate at a men’s European Championship after UEFA named her as a fourth official for Euro 2020 on Wednesday.
Frappart has already achieved several firsts for female officials, having been the first woman to referee a match in Ligue 1, and in the Champions League last December for a group-stage game between Juventus and Dynamo Kiev.
“For the first time, a female official has been selected for a men’s Euro. Stephanie Frappart (France), who has officiated at several matches in UEFA’s men’s club and national team competitions this season… will be acting as fourth official at matches,” UEFA said.
Each refereeing team at the event will consist of a referee, two assistant referees, a fourth official, a reserve assistant referee at the stadium, and a team of four video match officials.
The tournament, delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will run from June 11 to July 11.
The 37-year-old Frappart was also the first female referee of a major men’s European game, for the 2019 UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea.
Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira To Join Daniel Ek’s Bid To Buy Arsenal
Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek is set to launch a takeover bid for Arsenal with the help of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Patrick Vieira.
Ek, co-founder, and chief executive of music streaming service Spotify, has enlisted three of Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’ to help him purchase the club from current owner Stan Kroenke.
Ek first expressed an interest in buying Arsenal last week, after fans protested outside the Emirates Stadium against Kroenke’s ownership and his involvement in the failed breakaway European Super League.
“As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for @Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring,” Ek tweeted on Friday.
Ek is worth £3.38bn (€4.7bn), according to Forbes, and was named the most influential person in the music business by American magazine Billboard in 2017.
At this stage, it is not known how much the 38-year-old is willing to bid for Arsenal.
However, Arsenal director Josh Kroenke has told fans that his family has “no intention” of selling the club.
Speaking last week at a fans’ forum following the collapse of the European Super League venture, Kroenke said the club was not for sale but that they would work harder to engage with fans more effectively in the future.
Henry, Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer, joined his former manager Arsene Wenger in publicly criticising the club’s ownership last week.
“I do not recognise my club and what happened just now, with them trying to join a league that would have been closed, makes no sense to me,” Henry told the Telegraph.
“They have been running the club like a company, not a football club, and they showed their hand.
“Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of the core football values and maybe the money was too big of a temptation. But whatever it was, they got it wrong. Badly wrong.
“I was genuinely shocked like most people and couldn’t believe what was unfolding.
“I have never talked before, but what happened recently made me realise fans, this is your club. It is your club and I’m an Arsenal fan too.
“I’m proud of what the fans achieved. Not just Arsenal fans, all the fans. The result was a victory for football.”
Shearer, Henry Seal Maiden Induction Into Premier League Hall Of Fame
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have been announced as the first players to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Former Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers striker Shearer remains the leading goalscorer in the competition’s history, having scored 260 times across 14 seasons for both clubs.
A champion with Blackburn in 1994-95, Shearer scored 112 goals in 138 Premier League games for Rovers before a move to boyhood side Newcastle for £15million in 1996, breaking the world transfer record.
The former England captain, who won the Golden Boot three times, went on to net 148 goals in 303 league games for the Magpies and remains the only player to have scored 100 Premier League goals for two different clubs.
“When you look at some of the unbelievable players to have graced the Premier League – week in, week out, year in, year out – I feel very honoured to join the Hall of Fame. I have to thank all of my teammates, as well as the managers and coaches that I’ve worked with,” said Shearer.
“All I ever wanted to be was a professional footballer. It was my dream to do that, my dream to win trophies, and my dream to score at St James’ Park, to wear the number nine black-and-white shirt and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Henry is sixth on the all-time goalscoring list in the competition, having hit a club-record 175 in just 258 games for Arsenal.
The ex-France star, a record four-time Golden Boot winner, scored more than 20 goals in five consecutive seasons from 2001 until he left for Barcelona in 2006.
Twice a title-winner with the Gunners, including in the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04, Henry also registered 74 assists in the competition. His tally of 20 in 2002-03 remains a joint record for a single season, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne matching that tally in 2019-20.
“To be inducted alongside Alan Shearer as the two first inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame is more than special,” Henry said.
“When I was young, I was just trying to make sure I could get a pair of boots and now we’re talking about the Hall of Fame. During my career, I wanted to play hard and make sure I was fighting for the cause, because that’s all the fans want to see.
“If you asked me at the start of my career about entering the Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s an amazing honour.”
All 6 English Clubs Withdraw From Super League Amid Outrage
Plans for the European Super League fell further into crisis late Tuesday, with all six English clubs announcing they were turning away from their involvement in the controversial project.
Manchester City were the first to formally confirm on Tuesday night that they were quitting the competition, two days after it was announced amid wide-ranging outrage.
In a short statement, Manchester City Football Club said they had “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”
Statements confirming the withdrawal of the other five clubs —- champions Liverpool FC, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal FC and Chelsea —— followed soon after.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully.
“We have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community,” Chelsea said, confirming earlier media reports.
There was also speculation in Spain that FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid may be planning similar steps.
This development is what should be a fatal blow to the planned all but closed elite event for which 12 teams had signed up.
The announcement to form the breakaway Super League consisting of 20 teams with 15 permanent members sent shockwaves around the world.
It drew wide-ranging condemnation from politicians, federations and fans.
The establishment of the multi billion-dollar league would have been in direct competition with the Champions League of the European Football Union UEFA.
The project was to be financed by a U.S. bank.
In a bid to stave off the threat, on Monday UEFA agreed to revise the Champions League from 2024 onwards with 100 more matches and expand it from 32 to 36 teams.
An emergency meeting of the 12 clubs from England, Spain and Italy was said to be scheduled for Tuesday night, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
Of the founding 12 clubs, half were English teams.
No club from Germany’s Bundesliga had joined the Super League.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had vowed to do everything to prevent the six listed English clubs from featuring in the breakaway event and welcomed the initial withdrawal reports.
“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is —— if confirmed —— absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” Johnson tweeted shortly before Manchester City’s confirmation.
“I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”
Naming the club “a real asset for the game,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “I am delighted to welcome Manchester City back to the European football family.
“They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices —- most notably their fans —- that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football.”
The Football Association (in England) said: “We welcome the news that some of the clubs have decided to abandon the plans for the European Super League, which threatened the whole football pyramid.
“English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league.
“It was a proposition that, by design, could have divided our game. But, instead, it has unified us all.”
Hundreds of Manchester City fans were protesting their club’s Super League involvement ahead of their team’s Premier League match on Tuesday, further adding to the week’s mounting pressure.
The Super League was dealt an early blow when Champions League winners Bayern Munich and finalists Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) made it clear that they would not be joining.
Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer had insisted: “FC Bayern says no to the Super League.”
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge returned into the UEFA executive committee and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was also re-elected —— a clear snub towards the breakaway clubs.
Meanwhile, Liverpool saw their timing sponsors withdraw and players led by captain Jordan Henderson also voicing opposition.
“We don’t like it and we won’t want it to happen. This is our collective position. Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional,” their tweet read.
Super League and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had late Monday told El Chiringuito TV that “we have to make it (football) more attractive. It is not something for the rich. We do this to save football.”
And a Spanish mercantile court judge Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling that prohibited FIFA, UEFA and others from taking any kind of action against the Super League clubs or players.
The ruling may now be obsolete as the remaining teams appeared to crumble amid the condemnations and sanction threats.
The other teams being Barca, Real and Atletico from Spain, and from Italy AC Milan and Inter Milan, as well as Juventus.