Day: April 7, 2012

Arsenal’s Year Again? The Return Of The FA Womens Super League

Tomorrow afternoon sees the return of the FA Womens Super League, with eight teams doing battle in the first summer league version of a tournament that the FA hopes will dramatically increase interest in the competition. A signifier of how important they consider the development of this years competition to be and the extent to which the powers that be regard social media to be the key to increasing the profile of the league in the future. As was widely reported in the media last week, players from several of the league’s eight sides will be wearing their Twitter names on their sleeves as “digital ambassadors” for their clubs and the league, but such relative diversions may even prove a distraction from what may well be a very competitive league this season. The team to beat yet again this season will, of course, be Arsenal – this is, after all, the team that has won the last eight consecutive English championships and also became the only English team to win the UEFA Womens Champions League in 2007 when they beat the Swedish side UmeĆ„ IK over two legs in the final. Arsenal, who play their home matches at Meadow Park, the some of Boreham Wood FC, won the treble of the Womens Super League, the FA Cup and the FA WSL Continental Cup last season, and start again this...

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European Championship Stories: 2000 – Belgium, The Nearly Men

On the sixth of December 2011, Belgium finally ended a record-breaking run of five hundred and forty-one days without a formal government when new Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was sworn in by King Albert II in Brussels. Following the general election of June 2011, the fragmented political landscape was represented by eleven different political parties taking seats in the Chamber of Representatives, but with none of them having more than twenty per cent of them. Attempts to form a coalition of government proved fruitless until the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit rating to AA from AA+, making it more expensive for the country to borrow, and it was this that finally provided enough of a jolt to the country’s political system to bring it together. There is a certain irony in the fact that the country that is the home of the city regarded as the de facto capital of Europe, Brussels, should not even have been able to find unity within itself for a period of over a year and a half. In this, the crisis of the Belgian government perhaps mirrors a broader crisis of confidence in the European project. Yet it was only a little more than a decade ago that the concept of European Union was at the height of it popularity, with one of the common political narratives of...

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