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The FA WSL / Club signs Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ohno
« on: February 16, 2014, 01:11:08 AM »
Arsenal Ladies have signed Japan internationals Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ohno.

The pair helped Japan win the World Cup in Germany in 2011, and were silver medal winners at the London 2012 Olympics, where they reached the final at Wembley and played the United States in front of a record 80,000 crowd.

Kinga and Ohno also impressed in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal Ladies during the Gunners’ tour of Japan in November 2011.

Kinga, 29, joins Arsenal from L.League champions INAC Kobe. An experienced defender, she has 87 caps for her country.

Ohno arrives in north London from two-time Women’s Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais. The 30-year-old forward previously enjoyed spells in Japan with NTV Beleza and INAC Kobe. She has 39 goals in 116 appearances for Japan.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers was delighted to welcome the Japanese duo to the Club: “Yukari and Shinobu are both extremely experienced internationals, who are proven at the very top level," he said.

"They will add real quality to our squad and we are delighted to welcome them to Arsenal Ladies.”

The FA WSL / Grant and Tracy leave Arsenal Ladies
« on: February 03, 2014, 12:44:50 PM »
Ciara Grant and Yvonne Tracy have left Arsenal Ladies, having come to the end of their contracts.

The Irish duo gave a combined 30 years of service to the Club.

Ciara has helped the Gunners to 11 league titles, nine FA Cups, nine League Cups, and one Uefa Women’s Cup, since her arrival in 1998.

She became the first player to reach 100 caps for Republic of Ireland, and made a total of 105 appearances for her country over a 17-year international career.

Yvonne, who helped the Gunners to a treble in her debut season in 2000/01, enjoyed a similarly illustrious career with the Club. Among other triumphs, she played a key part in the Ladies’ 2006/07 quadruple-winning campaign.

Aged 32, Yvonne remains a mainstay of the Republic of Ireland side.

Ciara will now join Reading, where she will play under former Gunners team-mate Jayne Ludlow. Yvonne is also set to continue her playing career.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers paid tribute to the pair: “I would like to thank both Ciara and Yvonne for their fantastic contribution to the Club," he said.

"They’ve been central to the success the Ladies have had over the last 15 years.

“As well as being excellent players, they’ve been great to work with. On behalf of everyone at the Club, I’d like to wish them well for the future.”


The FA WSL / Anouk Hoogendijk joins Arsenal Ladies
« on: January 15, 2014, 04:58:20 PM »
Holland international Anouk Hoogendijk has signed for Arsenal Ladies.

The 28-year-old joins the Gunners from Ajax, where she has played since May 2012.

A versatile defender, who is also comfortable in central midfield, Hoogendijk becomes the third addition to the Gunners' backline this pre-season, following the arrival of England internationals Casey Stoney and Siobhan Chamberlain.

Hoogendijk has 94 caps for Holland, and spent a short spell in the Super League with Bristol Academy in 2011 where she played against Arsenal in the FA Cup final.  She is an experienced and technically adept player.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Anouk to Arsenal Football Club. She’s a top quality defender, who has proven herself on the international stage with Holland, in the Eredivisie with Ajax, and of course in the Super League with Bristol. She further strengthens a defence that has already seen the arrival of Casey and Siobhan ahead of the new season, so we are really pleased.”

Anouk added: “I’m excited to be returning to England, and to have the chance to play for Arsenal Ladies. They are one of the leading women’s clubs in the game, with an amazing history, so it is a real privilege to have signed for them. I am looking forward to meeting my new team mates and preparing for the 2014 season.”

The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.


The FA WSL / Alex Scott signs new long-term contract
« on: January 03, 2014, 01:39:49 PM »
Alex Scott has signed a new long-term contract with the Arsenal Ladies.

The 29-year-old has been a mainstay of the Gunners defence since returning to north London from a spell in the United States in March 2012.

A product of the Ladies academy, the full back helped Shelley Kerr’s side to the best defensive record in the Super League in 2013.

Last year Scott became the seventh player to reach a century of caps for England and also represented Team GB at London 2012.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers said: “It’s great news for the Club that Alex has decided to commit her future to Arsenal. She’s a top player, and extremely experienced, so we’re very pleased.”

Scott added: “I’m very pleased to have agreed a new contact with Arsenal. I first joined the Club when I was a teenager, so it feels like home to me.

"We’ve lost some players this pre-season, but we’ve signed some very capable ones too, so we’re feeling good about the new campaign and can’t wait for it to get underway.”


The FA WSL / Casey Stoney signs for Arsenal Ladies
« on: January 03, 2014, 01:38:22 PM »
England captain Casey Stoney has re-signed for Arsenal Ladies.

The 31-year-old defender, who began her career with the Gunners in 1999, has since enjoyed successful spells with Charlton Athletic, Chelsea and Lincoln.

An experienced England international, with 116 caps to her name, Stoney was appointed the Three Lions’ captain in May 2012. She was also given the armband for Team GB at London 2012, leading the side to victory over Brazil in front of 70,000 supporters at Wembley.

With the recent signing of England keeper Siobhan Chamberlain, Stoney’s arrival will further strengthen an Arsenal defence that conceded just 11 goals in the Super League last term – the lowest in the division.

Arsenal Ladies General Manager Vic Akers said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Casey back to the Club. She’s one of the finest defenders in the women’s game at the moment and she’ll bring fantastic experience to our team. We already have an excellent defensive unit here, and adding the England captain will only serve to strengthen that further.”

Stoney added: “It's a great feeling to be coming back to Arsenal Ladies. They're a team with a fantastic tradition, and it's where I started out so it's a special move for me. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to preparations for the 2014 campaign."

The deal is subject to the successful completion of a medical.


Women's Football / Rachel Yankey awarded an OBE
« on: December 30, 2013, 11:03:05 PM »
Rachel Yankey has been recognised in the New Year Honours list for a second time.

After being awarded an MBE in 2005, the England international follows Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers in receiving an OBE for services to the women’s game.

Yankey has enjoyed a fantastic year. She broke Peter Shilton's record of 125 England appearances in June to become the Three Lions’ most-capped player ever. For Arsenal, she helped the team to an FA Cup and Continental Cup double, as well as a place in the semi finals of the Champions League.

Away from her playing career, Yankey has worked tirelessly to promote the game at youth level, running her own football programme and a community club and mentoring young players.

“This very special award means a great deal to me, and I’m incredibly proud to have my work on and off the pitch recognised in this way," she said.

“I have to say I owe Arsenal a great deal, for kickstarting my coaching and playing career. I started out as an Arsenal in the Community trainee, which is where my love of coaching and working with children began.

"As an Arsenal Ladies player, I have been lucky enough to play with some of the best players in the country and helped contribute to the Club’s unbelievable history. 

“To be recognised for my youth work too, with the Rachel Yankey Football Programme, my community football team Gibbons Wrecker Youth FC and the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, is totally humbling.”

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club would like to congratulate Rachel on her achievement.


The FA WSL / Ladies strengthen keeper department
« on: December 19, 2013, 01:49:45 PM »
Arsenal Ladies have completed the signing of England international keeper Siobhan Chamberlain from Bristol Academy, with long-term No.1 Emma Byrne also signing a new contract with the Club.

Chamberlain is an experienced stopper, with 26 caps for the Three Lions. Last term she was selected in the Super League Team of the Year, as well as being voted Bristol’s Players’ Player of the Year. A consistent and reliable last line of defence for the Vixens over the past three years, Siobhan is the only Super League player to have played every minute of every game since the league’s inception in 2011.

She joins Byrne at the Club to add experience and competition to the Ladies goalkeeper department.

Now in her 13th year as Arsenal’s first-choice keeper, Byrne has helped the Gunners to 11 league titles, nine FA Cups and, in 2007, the UEFA Women’s Cup.

The 34-year-old enjoyed an excellent season in 2013, conceding just three goals in the final 10 games of the Super League campaign.

A Republic of Ireland international, she also reached 100 caps for her country in September.

General Manager Vic Akers said: “We’re really pleased to be both welcoming Siobhan to the Club, and extending Emma’s contract. The pair are both talented, experienced keepers and I know they’ll provide valuable competition for each other in the seasons ahead.”

Chamberlain said of her arrival: “I’m really excited to be signing for such a massive club, in Arsenal. The club have got a fantastic history and so many talented players, including Emma of course. I’m looking forward to working with her, and think the competition between us will help push us both on, as we prepare for the 2014 season.”

Byrne added: “I’m delighted to have signed an extension to my contract. With Siobhan’s arrival we’re looking really strong in the goalkeeper area. I’m looking forward to working with her in the coming months.”


Arsenal and England defender Steph Houghton has agreed a move to Manchester City Ladies and will sign a three-year contract in January.

The 25-year-old has played 40 times for her country and also represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Houghton captained Arsenal to an FA Cup and Continental Cup double in 2013, but the Gunners could only finish third in the Women's Super League.

City will compete in the expanded WSL for the first time in 2014.

Fellow England internationals Jill Scott, Karen Bardsley and Toni Duggan have also signed for the Blues ahead of next season.

"I'm so glad that City came in for me because as soon as I heard their plans for the future, I knew I wanted to be part of it," the former Sunderland and Leeds player told her new club's website. 

"I'd like to thank Arsenal very much for everything they've done for me. They've helped me to grow as a player and it was a massive decision for me to leave. I had three very successful years there and I didn't take the decision lightly."

An England debutant in 2007, injuries prevented Houghton from appearing in that year's World Cup and Euro 2009, although she did feature at the 2011 World Cup and a disappointing Euro 2013 campaign.

She came to prominence with a series of impressive displays for Great Britain during London 2012 and scored the winning goal in a 1-0 group win against Brazil at Wembley.

The FA WSL / Kim Little - It's difficult to leave Arsenal
« on: November 20, 2013, 05:39:32 PM »
Kim Little says it's difficult to leave Arsenal after six successful seasons with the Club.

The Scotland midfielder has joined Seattle Reign on a long-term contract and will link up with former Arsenal manager Laura Harvey.

Little has helped the Gunners win 11 major trophies since joining them in 2007, but admits the chance to fulfil her dream of playing in America was too good to turn down.

"Playing in America has always been an ambition of mine," Little told "To get the opportunity to play in the professional league and work with Laura Harvey is my main reason for joining Seattle Reign.

"It's obviously very difficult to leave Arsenal - I've had a great six years here. I've worked with so many great players so it was a very difficult decision but it's one that I feel has been made at the right time.

"I've had a lot of great memories at Arsenal - probably too many to mention. Winning the Women's Super League title and the two cups last season are probably my highlights."

Despite missing out on the WSL title for the first time, Little is confident that Ladies manager Shelley Kerr has enough quality in her squad to win the league next year.

"We've won the league so many occasions," said Little. "The Club definitely has the ambition and the opportunity to come back and win the league next year and I'm sure that's what they will do."

Women's Football / England's Katie Chapman queries FA stance on motherhood
« on: September 15, 2013, 09:44:51 AM »

England international Katie Chapman has questioned the Football Association's policy towards mothers in the team after claiming she was dropped for wanting time off to look after her family.

Arsenal midfielder Chapman, 31, moved to play in the United States in 2010, but returned home with her two children after her husband failed to find work.

Having asked for a short break from international football, her central contract was cancelled hours later.

"It was really upsetting," she said.

"The time I needed time out, I didn't feel very supported. I had a 10-minute conversation with [former boss Hope Powell] and then three hours later, I got an email to say my central contract had been finished.

"I don't know if it was because I was a mum, but I needed that time for my children."

She said: "In America, on international duty they have nannies. They take their children with them and have nannies on site so when they're training it's all looked after.

"In the [FA] central contracts, there should definitely be something about maternity and children, and how they can help and support.

"There are going to be international players who are going to have children and they shouldn't have to give that up."

The FA said it had changed its family policy since Chapman was involved with England and that future decisions would be taken by a wider group of people.

Until she was dropped, Chapman was at the heart of England's midfield and received 82 caps after making her debut as a 17-year-old in 2000.

Having rejoined Arsenal after her return from the US, she is one of the women's game's most decorated players, having won major honours with every English club for whom she has played.

She has not appeared for her country since helping England qualify for the 2011 World Cup. She missed out on that tournament, the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 European Championship, where England struggled.

But now Powell has left the Football Association, Chapman - who has since had another child - says she would like to be involved again and attempt to reach the milestone of 100 caps.

The FA said in response to Chapman's claims: "The FA will fully support any England women's player should they wish to take maternity leave or spend time concentrating on their family life.

"We have a maternity policy in place for players on an FA central contract and all contracts remain in force during the period of any player's pregnancy/maternity leave. This policy was approved by the Professional Footballers' Association.

"The FA has previously accommodated players' family members at the team hotel during a tournament and we will continue to fully support our players in the future."

Chapman was the last mother to play for England, while former captain Faye White retired at the age of 34 after announcing she was expecting her first child.

The women's game in England has undergone major changes over the past two years, with the top division being rebranded to become the Women's Super League and moving to a summer schedule.

It also comes as the FA has laid down a five-year plan called Game Changer, marking out its ambition to make women's football the second biggest participation sport behind men's football.

"Other than that conversation, I've had no contact with Hope or anyone else," Chapman added. "It was a shame it all came to an end like that.

"It's really disheartening because you put your heart and soul into something. It was crazy just be dropped with a pinch of salt.

"I've never retired from international football and I'd love to go back. I'd love to get 100 caps for England if that opportunity arose. I'm in the same situation with my children and childcare, so we'd have to work out how it would all work."

5 Live Sport Special Pregnancy and Sport, Thursday 19 September at 20:00 BST.

Katie Chapman

  • Born: 15 June 1982, London
  • Clubs: Millwall, Fulham, Charlton, Arsenal, Chicago Red Stars, Arsenal
  • Honours: Uefa Cup, 2 Women's Super League titles, 4 Premier League titles, 8 FA Cups
  • England: 82 caps. Made her debut in May 2000, playing her last game in September 2010


The FA WSL / Women's football coverage on the BBC
« on: August 01, 2013, 01:46:36 PM »
The BBC will continue to cover the women's game, with live television coverage of England's World Cup qualifiers, plus live commentary on 5 live sports extra from selected midweek Women's Super League games.

There is also The Women's Football Show on BBC Two, plus coverage of the 2014 Women's FA Cup final live on television, radio and online.

The FA WSL / Kelly Smith appointed player-coach
« on: August 01, 2013, 01:33:56 PM »
Arsenal Ladies captain Kelly Smith has been appointed as player-coach.

England's all-time leading goalscorer will combine her playing duties with the new role, which sees her help with training sessions and preparing the team for matchdays.

“I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity to coach the girls," Smith said. "Coaching is an area I’ve been interested in for some time. It will be a new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Head coach Shelley Kerr said: “It’s great to have Kelly on board as a coach. She has so much experience and enthusiasm she can relay to the younger players and I think they will really benefit from her involvement.”

General manager Vic Akers, who has worked with Smith since 1996, added: “I’ve always seen Kelly as a coach down the line, and I’m very glad she’s accepted the chance to combine coaching with her playing role.

"She’s been at the top of the womens' game for 15 years, and has achieved so much as a player. She’s in a great position to pass on some of that experience to the rest of the team and will be a great addition to our coaching staff.”


The FA WSL / Weir up for Arsenal challenge
« on: July 25, 2013, 11:41:02 PM »
Scotland international Caroline Weir admits she finds her new surrounding overwhelming after joining Arsenal Ladies recently, writes Richard Payne.

The youngster, along with former Glasgow City star Emma Mitchell, put pen to paper after agreeing to become Shelley Kerr's first signings for the Gunners.

Midfield maestro Weir has been outstanding this term for Hibernian and her form was rewarded with a call up into the 'A' squad for friendlies against Iceland and Germany.

Caroline, 18, admits the prospect of lining up against some of the biggest names in women's football is daunting, however she is looking forward to the challenge of forcing her way into Kerr's first team plans.

She said: "I'm really excited about moving to such a big, successful club and I cannot wait to get started.

"I'm here to play first team football but I'm realistic enough to know that it won't happen straight away.

"Arsenal are undoubtedly amongst the biggest clubs in the women's game and getting to play alongside so many talented players every day was the biggest reason for coming here.

"However, I'm trying not to think too much about them though as it can be a bit overwhelming when you see how well known and successful they have been.

"The Women's Super League is such an exciting competition and playing against so many great players can only help my development.

"The club have been great helping me settle in and it certainly helps that I know a few of the Scottish girls."

Weir becomes the fourth former Hibernian player to have joined the Gunners in the last seven years following in the footsteps of Kim Little, Natalie Ross and Suzanne Grant.

With boss Kerr also a former Hibs player, it is a well-worn path Caroline is travelling.

Given the similarities in background, position and age at the time of their moves, there will be likely comparisons with Scottish football's most famous lady - Kim Little - however Weir is aware it would be a tall order to replicate her success.

She said: "It would take a lot to repeat Kim's success because she is the best player to ever come out of Scotland.

"She's a great role model and has worked very hard to be so successful.

"I'm looking forward to playing for Shelley because she is a great coach and I've played under her before with Scotland U19's.

"She is very encouraging; always looks for positives and most importantly her teams want to play for her which was another reason for my move."

After eight years with Hibs Caroline was understandably emotional leaving the field following her final performance

Whilst her father, Lindsay, is the club chairman, Weir admits he was fully supportive of her decision to join the Gunners and she offered her sincere thanks to those that have helped her long the way.

She commented: "I'd been at Hibs since I was 10, so it was very emotional day when I played my last game for the club.

"I have so many close friends at Hibs and loved my time playing there.

"Dad being at the club didn't have any influence on my decision because he has always been hugely supportive throughout my career.

"I would like to put on record my heartfelt thanks to the coaches who put in so much of their own time and all the volunteers that put in so much work behind the scenes that we don't see."

BT Sport has announced the top matches it will show exclusively live from the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL).

Viewers will be able to follow the exciting conclusion of the FA WSL, as BT Sport follows leaders Liverpool Ladies live three times and current champions Arsenal Ladies at least twice.

The channels will also have live coverage of the London derby between Chelsea Ladies and Arsenal Ladies on August 29, as well as the Merseyside derby with Liverpool Ladies at home to Everton Ladies on September 12.

The first live game on BT Sport following the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 will be the big clash between leaders Liverpool and two-times champions Arsenal at Halton Stadium on Saturday, August 3. Kick off is 7pm.

BT Sport’s live games from the league will conclude with a match to be chosen at a later stage on either the penultimate or last round of the season, on September 15 or 29.
However, BT Sport will also have live coverage of the season finale Continental Cup Final on Friday, October 4.

There will also be a weekly highlights show, starting at 6pm on August 6 and running for eight weeks until the season concludes in October.

Simon Green, director of BT Sport, said: “Fans of the FA WSL will be delighted with the tremendous line-up of exclusively live matches we’ve got in store at BT Sport.

“Starting with the current league leaders Liverpool Ladies taking on the current champions Arsenal Ladies, we are showing the best games live.

“The high profile coverage of England at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 competition in Sweden is sure to further increase the awareness and appreciation for the women’s game in the UK. We believe the FA WSL can develop and grow significantly in the next few years and we hope that we’ll be able to advance that process with some stimulating and top quality live coverage.”

Kelly Simmons, director of Women’s Football at The FA, added: “We are delighted to start working with BT Sport on our live FA WSL coverage, the plans in place are very exciting and we are all looking forward to the return of season three post-Euro 2013, with a strong selection of live matches. The kick off match on BT Sport between Liverpool and Arsenal on August 3 should be a fantastic game between two top teams and we hope fans old and new will tune in to watch women’s football at its best.”

BT Sport is a founding partner for a new commercial programme for women’s football from 2014-18. In addition to the FA WSL, it has acquired rights for the England Women’s Senior Team and the FA Women’s Cup.

BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays Premier League – including 18 “top pick” matches - and all 69 live rugby matches from the Aviva Premiership, of which BT will be the sole and exclusive live broadcaster.

The channels will also offer hundreds of top flight live matches from football leagues around the world including Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia and the US. Plus live football from Scottish Professional Football League top flight and 10 Rangers matches, up to 25 FA Cup ties, including the final, as well as live coverage from the UEFA Europa League and the Football Conference.

The channels will also feature WTA women’s tennis, action from the UFC, and Moto GP from 2014.

Liverpool Ladies v Arsenal Ladies, August 3, KO 7pm
Bristol Academy Women v Liverpool Ladies, August 10, KO 7.45pm
Chelsea Ladies v Arsenal Ladies, August 29, KO 7.30pm
Liverpool Ladies v Everton Ladies, September 12, KO 7.30pm
Continental Cup Final, October 4, KO 7.30pm


The FA WSL / Arsenal Ladies confirm double signing
« on: July 22, 2013, 03:36:47 PM »
Arsenal Ladies are delighted to announce the arrival of Scotland internationals Emma Mitchell and Caroline Weir.

Mitchell is a versatile 20-year-old, equally comfortable in defence and midfield. Strong, athletic and good on the ball, the left-footed player came through the ranks at Glasgow City’s academy, becoming a first-team regular aged just 17.

After four successful years in the Scottish Premier League, Mitchell proved herself at the very highest level last term with German side SGS Essen.

She has 22 caps for Scotland at senior level and has captained her country at under-19 level. She was also part of the Scottish FA performance centre.

Attacking midfielder Weir joins the Club from Hibernian, where she has shown herself to be an exciting prospect.

Skilful and with an eye for goal, the 18-year-old is a product of the same Hibs Academy as current Arsenal Ladies midfielder and PFA Player of the Year Kim Little.

Having represented Scotland at every youth level, Weir was awarded a first senior cap  in a 3-2 victory over Iceland in June 2013.

The Scottish duo are the first signings Shelley Kerr has made since becoming head coach and the former Scotland coach is delighted to have added both players.

“In Emma and Caroline, Arsenal have secured two players of outstanding quality,” Kerr said. “I worked with them both while I was with the Scottish FA and know just how talented they are.

“Emma is strong and physical but technically really good, too. Caroline is a smart, creative player, with an eye for a pass and a good shot.

“They’re both left-footed players, which will help the balance of the team, and I’ve no doubt they’ll fit in well with the group of players we’ve got here at Arsenal Ladies.

“On behalf of everyone at the Club I’d like to welcome them to the Arsenal Ladies set-up.”


The FA WSL / Arsenal Sign Croatian International
« on: July 21, 2013, 03:56:06 PM »
London-based club Arsenal have signed Osijek and Croatian international Doris Bacic.

The 18-year-old goalkeeper, who is originally from Neum, caught the eye of scouts whilst playing for Croatia against England and will join the ladies ‘Gunners’ next season.

Arsenal are the most successful English women’s club having won 39 trophies to date. Bacic also has played for the Libertas club in Dubrovnik.

Date: 29 May 2013

Her profile on

The FA WSL / Jayne Ludlow announces retirement
« on: July 11, 2013, 08:09:53 PM »
Arsenal Ladies legend Jayne Ludlow has announced her decision to retire from football after 13 years at the Club.

Arriving from Southampton in 2000, the 34-year-old scored 28 goals from midfield during her first season in north London,  helping the team to a domestic treble, and went on to win 26 major trophies during her time at the Club, including a quadruple in 2007.

Ludlow scored more than 200 goals for the Gunners during her career, making her the Ladies' all-time top scorer. She was also voted the FA Players’ Player of the Year on three occasions.

She won 61 caps for Wales after making her debut in 1997 and was described by national team manager Jarmo Matikainen as “the most successful player that Wales has ever had”.

An academy coach for both the Ladies and Wales, Jayne recently completed her Uefa A License and now intends to focus her energies on developing the next generation of female footballers.

Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers paid tribute to Ludlow’s contribution to the Club, saying: “Jayne has enjoyed a remarkable career and I’d like to thank her on behalf of everyone at Arsenal for her fantastic contribution to the Club over the years.

“Jayne’s athleticism, technical ability and eye for goal made her one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the women’s game. It was a privilege to have worked with her for all these years and I wish her every success in the future.”

Arsenal Ladies manager Shelley Kerr added: “Jayne’s had a fantastic career and it’s been a pleasure to work with her over the last few months. I wish her every success for the future.”


The FA WSL / Arsenal's Emma nets herself a husband
« on: June 29, 2013, 07:32:09 AM »

Arsenal and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne at her wedding to former footballer Marcus Bignot; and right, in action for Ireland against the US.

SWAPPING her jersey for a bridal gown, Arsenal and Republic of Ireland ladies goalkeeper Emma Byrne has wed long-term partner Marcus Bignot.

The 35-year-old wed the English former professional footballer at the Church of Our Lady's Nativity, in Leixlip, Co Kildare, yesterday.

A string of Byrne's current and former team mates were among the guests.

Leanne Champ, Jenny Canty, Kelly Few and Jayne Ludlow were spotted at the ceremony, while Alex Scott and Kirsty Pealling were also in attendance.


A Great Britain women's football team may compete at the Rio Olympics after gaining Football Association backing.

To qualify for the 2016 Games, Team GB would have to enter the 2015 Women's World Cup in which home nations currently compete separately.

But the FA's Robert Sullivan said: "Subject to qualification we are prepared to look at the possibility."

A GB men's team is unlikely to play in Rio with Sullivan confirming there is "currently no commitment" to the idea.

The GB men's and women's team qualified for London 2012 because of their host status.

FA head of corporate affairs Sullivan told the House of Lords Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee the FA would look at ways for a GB team to compete at Rio.

The FA has previously ruled out the possibility because the home nations are against unifying for World Cup qualifying - fearing it might end the chances of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland competing individually in future.

For the women to win a place at Rio, a combined British side would have to be one of the top three European teams at the World Cup in 2015.

Team GB's women's team were considered a success at the London Olympics with a record British women's football crowd of 70,584 seeing the host nation beat Brazil 1-0 at Wembley in their final group game.

Hope Powell's side were eventually knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Canada.

Qualification for Rio 2016

  • Europe's top three nations at the Women's World Cup in 2015 will qualify for Rio
  • England were ranked third at the 2007 World Cup but their Beijing Olympics place was handed to Sweden


Fans intending to attend the Arsenal Ladies home FAWSL match on Sunday, 12th May at Emirates Stadium against Birmingham City (kick off: TBA) should note that the match is subject to change.

Arsenal supporters will be aware that the match is scheduled to take place on the same day the Arsenal men’s team play their last home game of the season against Wigan Athletic in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium at 3pm.

The Arsenal Ladies match would be expected to take place after the end of the men’s match as has been the case on previous occasions when Arsenal have held double-headers featuring the two teams.

What some people may not be aware of is that the men’s match is in doubt. If Wigan progress through to the FA Cup Final by beating Millwall on Saturday, 13th April the match scheduled against Arsenal on the 12th May would be postponed as the FA Cup Final is taking place on Saturday, 11th May.

Wigan must surely be considered the favourites to reach the FA Cup Final ahead of the semi-final match clash against Millwall so the likelihood of a postponement must be considered very high. 

Some of the options available if Wigan do progress to the FA Cup Final…

  • Move the ALFC match to Boreham Wood
  • Rearrange the fixture in line with the men’s rearranged match. (N.B. this could only be done if the men’s match was moved to a weekend date. However the rearranged men's fixture could take place in April)
  • Play at the Emirates Stadium as scheduled (N.B. this would depend on various factors including when the pitch is used again)
  • Play at Emirates Stadium on a separate date not linked to any men’s match

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