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    Liverpool star Luis Diaz in line for shock transfer exit as Reds make Mo Salah decision and line up three new deals

    LUIS DIAZ is in line to be the biggest name exit from Liverpool this summer — if they can tie down Mo Salah to a new deal.Several Spanish clubs have their eyes on Kop forward Diaz.A number of Spanish clubs have an eye on Luis Diaz ahead of a shock summer transferCredit: GettyLiverpool are keen to agree a new contract with Mohamed SalahCredit: APThe Reds are prepared to listen to offers due to their wealth of attacking options.The top priority for Jurgen Klopp’s successor is new contracts for Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk.And the outcome relating to Salah in particular will have a bearing on the future of 27-year-old Colombia ace Diaz.He struggled in the first half of the season — even before his parents were kidnapped in his homeland.READ MORE LIVERPOOL NEWSBut Diaz has recently shown glimpses of his  initial form after moving from Porto for £37m in January 2022.Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip are set to leave Anfield when their contracts expire this summer.Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk all have just one full season left on their current deals.Saudi Pro League clubs and Paris Saint-Germain want Salah while captain Van Dijk has rowed back on comments that he was unsure of his future after Klopp’s exit.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERSThe Reds realise they can have only sensible conversations with their stars once a new sporting director and Klopp’s replacement are in place.The sporting director, who could be named in the coming fortnight, will have input into the identity of the new manager.Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Jayden Danns scores twice after Lewis Koumas goal as Klopp’s kids set up Man Utd FA Cup clashBayer Leverkusen chief Xabi Alonso — a former Kop hero — is favourite to get Klopp’s job.Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann, Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi and Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim are also candidates.No direct approaches have yet been made but it is believed Alonso’s camp have been kept informed of Liverpool’s timetable.Chiefs expect a relatively quiet summer in the transfer market although Bayern Munich are eyeing left-back Andy Robertson.And the Reds are braced for bids for back-up keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who has shone in Alisson’s absence. More

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    How FA chiefs refuse to recognise Lionesses’ 1971 World Cup campaign – and why they punished stars when they returned

    STEPPING out into the sweltering Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Carol Wilson felt the ground shake as 97,000 fans went wild at the arrival of the two football teams.Aged just 19, she was the youngest player ever to captain an England team — and she was doing so with a broken foot.Manager Harry Batt with the 1971 England squad that played in the Mexico Women’s World Cup – but were shunned and punished by the Football AssociationCredit: © New Black Films ltd / MirrorpixFormer England captain Carol Wilson received a six-month suspension for taking part in the tournamentCredit: SuppliedAt the 1971 tournament Paula Raynor, above, became England’s youngest goal scorer when she netted against Argentina aged 15Credit: AlamyYet until now Carol’s heroics at the 1971 Women’s World Cup have been forgotten and the Football Association still won’t reward any of the side with a cap, the usual recognition for players who represent their country in an international match.At the same tournament Paula Raynor became England’s youngest goal scorer when she netted against Argentina aged 15.But their names are unlikely to appear in any pub quiz, as those records are very much unofficial.In Mexico we weren’t interested in the politics, all we wanted to do was play footballCarol WilsonAnd rather than being feted for representing England, the whole team which went to Mexico were BANNED from playing for between three and six months.Their crime was to have dared to stand up to the sport’s male rulers, who didn’t want women to take part in the beautiful game.But now, thanks to documentary film Copa 71, produced by tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, their dedication to women’s football is finally being properly celebrated.Carol, 72, from Shipdham, Norfolk, tells The Sun: “I was elated to represent my country.“In Mexico we weren’t interested in the politics, all we wanted to do was play football.Most read in Football“I got injured against Argentina, but there was no way I was going to miss the game against Mexico.‘Pretty girls’“It was painful playing with a broken foot, but at times the adrenalin was so high I didn’t notice it. It was only when I came off when I went ‘Ouch’.”Paula Raynor became England’s youngest goal scorer aged 15 in the 1971 Women’s World CupWomen’s football was popular at the start of the 20th century, with fans filling stadiums. But in 1921 the game’s ruling body banned women from playing in affiliated grounds.That restriction remained in place for another half a century.At home it would only be a few friends and family watching us on the recreational pitches. We weren’t allowed in the stadiums in England Paula RaynorIt meant that neither Carol nor Paula could join a school team and had to pursue their sporting passion on park pitches in front of “one man and his dog”.Then some enterprising Mexican businessmen made plans which would change all that. They realised they could make good use of the stadiums built for the 1970 men’s World Cup in the country by holding a women’s competition the following summer.Here, Luton bus conductor Harry Batt petitioned the Women’s FA, which had only been formed in 1969, to allow him to put together a team to take to the tournament.But rather than helping, the association is said to have told female footballers they faced being black-listed if they did go to Mexico.Paula says: “The WFA restricted Harry on which players he could take. I have heard that some players were warned off going to Mexico.”But with the help of his wife June, Harry managed to convince drinks giant Martini & Rossi to sponsor the trip and found 14 women to go.Both Paula, who ran out for Chiltern Valley Ladies, and Carol, an RAF fitness instructor, had played for England at an unofficial World Cup held in Italy the previous year.Achievement ignoredThat gave them some experience of playing in proper stadiums, and Paula recalls: “We played in Milan and in Juventus (Turin).“At home it would only be a few friends and family watching us on the recreational pitches. We weren’t allowed in the stadiums in England.”The team finished third in Italy but because the tournament had been organised by the breakaway Federation of Independent European Female Football, the men’s ruling body refused to recognise the achievement.Harry’s team entered the 1971 World Cup as the British Independents to get around the FA’s rules, yet the team was listed as England by the tournament organisers and they wore the traditional all-white kit.On their arrival in Mexico the players were greeted by camera flashes as they got off the plane, with crowds outside the airport and locals throwing presents at their bus.Nearly 400 children watched their training session and the local Press wrote about England’s “pretty girls”.But nothing could have prepared them for entering Mexico City’s towering Azteca Stadium for their first match against Argentina.Paula says: “The first thing that hits you is the heat, then the noise, and then the size of the pitch. You think, ‘Oh my God’. It’s a very big pitch. It takes you by surprise, then, once the whistle goes, it blocks out.”Until Paula watched the new documentary, she could not remember scoring her equaliser.She says: “Because of how the WFA treated us, a lot of stuff was blocked because I didn’t talk about it.“I knew I scored a goal but it was not until I watched the premiere of Copa 71 that I knew I headed it in.”Carol broke her foot going for a 50-50 ball and England lost 4-1 to the South Americans.The next match against the hosts Mexico proved to be even bigger. Carol says: “I remember standing in the tunnel for Mexico and it didn’t affect me until then — my legs turned to jelly.”The 97,000-strong crowd is the biggest for an England women’s game, but sadly they lost 4-0. Yet despite the disappointment, Carol says she was not too downhearted.She recalls: “I know all the girls had tried 110 per cent and to think we had come from six people and a dog on a Sunday, I thought at the time women’s football was going to be massive.”Although they had been knocked out, England were invited to stay in Mexico until the tournament ended.They were treated as celebrities, appearing in newspapers and magazines and opening shops.The final, in which Denmark beat Mexico 3-0, had a crowd of 110,000, proving there certainly was an appetite for the women’s game.My achievements were never announced at school and because we arrived back from Mexico a week after the school term had started I got into trouble with the headmistressPaula RaynorThe tournament also showed that women could be just as hot-blooded about this physical sport as the men, because in the semi-final between Mexico and Italy play was stopped ten minutes early due to an on-field brawl. After the tournament was over, the joy for Harry’s team turned out to be short-lived.There was no one to meet them at the airport back in England and only one journalist turned up to ask them about the tournament.The WFA banned Harry from football for life, Carol received a six-month suspension and the rest of the players three months.Carol’s treatment on her return from Mexico took away the joy from playing the game she adored.The Lionesses of 1971 training in the familiar England strip – but the team’s achievements were ignored by the FACredit: MirrorpixEngland players training with coach Pat Dunn in MexicoCredit: MirrorpixWhen she attended an event at Newcastle United, the team she had supported since childhood, a compere ridiculed her on stage in front of her father.And her newlywed husband told her to give up football.Ticking off at schoolCarol recalls: “He didn’t approve. We had just been married and he didn’t think women should play football anyway and he whinged about me having to go away.”Paula, meanwhile, received a ticking off at school.She says: “My achievements were never announced at school and because we arrived back from Mexico a week after the term had started I got into trouble with the headmistress.”After leaving school she joined the RAF and kept playing until her first pregnancy at 25. Without them, and many others, the women’s game would not be where it is todayFA spokesman, 2024Today, the authorities are finally recognising these sporting pioneers.Last year a blue plaque was unveiled in Luton to honour the team and its founders Harry and June Batt.And the FA acknowledges that the players who went to Mexico changed the face of the game.A spokesman told The Sun: “The talented and courageous women who travelled to Mexico in 1971 significantly contributed to the formation of the England women’s team in 1972 and without them, and many others, the women’s game would not be where it is today.”But they still only issue caps to England’s women players who were given permission to play by the FA from November 1972 onwards.Mother-of-three Paula, 67, from Southport, Merseyside, is pleased by how much has changed for women’s football in the past few years.England’s Lionesses winning the Euros in 2022 and reaching the World Cup final last year has made modern players such as captain Leah Williamson household names.READ MORE SUN STORIESPaula says: “The women’s game is so different now, it’s fantastic. The recent growth, since the Euros, it’s phenomenal.”
    Copa 71 is in cinemas from March 8.
    Carol and team mate Yvonne Bradley arrive home from Mexico in plasterDenmark’s Inger Pedersen lifts the trophy in an echo of England’s Bobby Moore in 1966Credit: TopFotoCELEBRATE THESE COPA HEROINESBy Sandra Brobbey, Women’s Football Reporter
    IT’S a travesty that Carol Wilson, Paula Raynor and their team-mates were treated so shabbily for daring to play in a tournament worthy of more recognition than it currently gets.
    And it’s bizarre that those who chose to represent England at this unofficial women’s world cup come home to face bans and suspensions.
    While there is much to do to help the sport continue to grow, the women’s game has thankfully come a long way since England went toe-to-toe with Mexico in the Azteca stadium.
    On these shores a record crowd of more than 87,000 flocked to Wembley to watch the Lionesses win the Euros two years ago.
    The success of the 1971 tournament helped pave the way for such moments and for the women’ game to become what it is today.
    The efforts of Wilson, Raynor and all the women who competed in this contest should be more widely celebrated.
    Hopefully the release of Copa 71 will lead to that. More

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    Ex-Premier League ref reveals why Casemiro’s goal stood and Van Dijk didn’t… and says VAR is even enraging OFFICIALS

    ONE thing is certain for this season, we’ve seen so many inconsistencies with VAR and it riles the fans, players, managers — and even us referees.In Law 11, just being in an offside position is not an offence in itself.Virgil van Dijk had a goal disallowed in the Carabao Cup final before scoring the winnerCredit: GettyCasemiro’s similar goal was allowed to stand against Nottingham ForestCredit: GettyBut does the forward become involved in active play? Interfere with the defender? Make a movement to play the ball?For Virgil van Dijk’s disallowed goal in the Carabao Cup final, Wataru Endo is in an offside position but makes no movement to play the ball.So does he become involved in active play by blocking Levi Colwill?Can Colwill challenge Van Dijk? I don’t think so.READ MORE FOOTBALL NEWSBut look at Burnley v Luton, where the Luton forward clearly blocks the keeper and it’s allowed.At Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, it was exactly the same as the Van Dijk one.Another defender is between Felipe and Casemiro as he scored.People will say, in that position Rafael Varane was involved in active play because defenders knew he was there.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERSBut I think both goals should have been given.Van Dijk AND Sterling have goals RULED OUT by VAR in frantic final More

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    Man Utd owners the Glazer Family blasted for ‘smelly’ facilities and ‘bugs in showers’ as damning report published

    MANCHESTER UNITED’S owners have been blasted for “smelly” facilities at their NFL franchise in a damning report.The Glazer Family own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers alongside their majority stake in the Red Devils.The Glazers have been blasted in a new survey by the NFL Players AssociationCredit: GettyThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ facilities are ‘smelly’ with ‘bugs in showers’ the report claimsCredit: GettySince the Glazers’ takeover in 1995, the Buccaneers have won two Super Bowls, the only NFL championship triumphs in their history.However, an NFL report has now laid bare their alleged failings in Florida.It comes after regular criticism in recent months for neglecting United’s facilities.A survey conducted by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) exposed the shortcomings within the Buccaneers’ facilities.READ MORE MAN UTD NEWSNFLPA members were surveyed by members to gauge their thoughts on how their teams operate.Joel Glazer was given a rating of 6.1/10 for his willingness to invest in facilities, placing him 29th out of 32 franchise owners.Players claimed the locker room are left unclean, constantly smell and the showers have a persistent bug issue.Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the team’s saunas are mouldy.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERSThe survey highlighted the Buccaneers as one of 12 teams that do not provide a family room during games.Whilst the Bucs do offer day care, it comes at a price of $90 per child.Inside Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s plans to replace Old Trafford with a ‘Wembley of the North’A summary of the NFLPA survey read: “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finish the year ranked 24th overall [from 32 teams]; the ranking could have been lower if the staff had not earned high marks among respondents.”The dietician, training staff and strength coaches all received solid grades from the players.”Club owner Joel Glazer ranks 29th across the league when it comes to the question about a perceived willingness to invest in the facilities, and the reason for assessment is reflected in the data collected across categories.”The players described the locker room as ‘unclean’ and ‘smelly’, and they even cited seeing bugs consistently in the showers. Respondents also described the team sauna as ‘dirty’, ‘small’ and ‘broken down’.”Younger players must have roommates on work travel, unless they pay the team more than $1,750 for their own room each season.”They do have a daycare room on gamedays, but charge players’ families $90 per child, which most other teams offer for free.”Outdated facilities are one thing, but providing clean showers and workspaces, and not charging players to have their own hotel room on work trips should be basic standards for a multi-billion-dollar professional sports enterprise.”Joel Glazer ranked 29th out of 32 NFL franchise owners for his willingness to invest in facilitiesCredit: The Mega Agency More

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    Eric Dier ‘to sign for Bayern Munich as permanent transfer option triggered after just six appearances’

    ERIC DIER is set to sign for Bayern Munich permanently, according to reports. Dier, 30, has been with the German champions on loan from Tottenham since January.Eric Dier is set to sign for Bayern Munich on a permanent basisCredit: GettyThe original deal was due to run until the end of the season with a further option for 12 months.However, according to The Athletic, Dier has now met the contractual obligations to turn the move into a permanent transfer.Bayern are believed to have paid Spurs £3.5million for the loan deal.It means they will effectively sign the former England international as a free agent.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLClub chiefs are said to be pleased with Dier’s contribution and leadership skills since joining them.Dier has so far played six Bundesliga games, helping them to one clean sheet.It means Dier will remain with Harry Kane in the quest to lift the German league title.Bayern currently sit eight points behind Xabi Alonso’s record-breaking league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.Most read in FootballCASINO SPECIAL – BEST CASINO WELCOME OFFERSAlonso is said to be on Bayern’s list of candidates to take over in the summer after it was announced Thomas Tuchel would step down at the end of the season.Tuchel’s team will face Freiburg tomorrow before facing Lazio in the second leg of the Champions League last 16.Dier has played just six games for the Bundesliga outfitFans reckon Eric Dier has ‘gone full Steve McClaren’ as ex-Tottenham ace reveals German twang after Bayern Munich debut More

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    Chelsea star Levi Colwill ‘lined up for shock Champions League transfer’ as Blues look to comply with FFP

    LEVI COLWILL is being lined up for a shock move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain.The 21-year-old has emerged as a long-term transfer target for the Ligue 1 champions.Paris Saint-Germain are lining up a move for Chelsea defender Levi ColwillCredit: AlamyColwill has made 31 appearances for Chelsea so far this season, scoring once from defence.The academy graduate has established himself in the first-team after shining on loan at Brighton last season.His performances for the Seagulls saw him rewarded with a new six-year deal at Stamford Bridge back in the summer.Meanwhile, he was handed his senior England debut by Gareth Southgate in October.READ MORE CHELSEA NEWSAccording to Jonathan Johnson, though, he could now be set to leave the Premier League.Colwill is said to have emerged as a target for PSG, who are willing to play a long game to land their man, with the Blues unlikely to sell this summer.The report adds that he is seen as an alternative to first-choice defensive target Leny Yoro.Yoro, 18, has broken into the Lille first-team this season, sparking a transfer race involving PSG, Real Madrid and Liverpool.Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERSManchester United were also linked with a move before the January transfer window.The interest in Colwill comes after reports Chelsea may have to sell a host of players this summer in order to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.Chelsea 3 Leeds 2: Gallagher nets last-gasp winner ease pressure on Pochettino as Blues edge out brave Whites in FA CupIn addition, homegrown player sales are seen to provide greater value when adhering to FFP.This is because there are no reductions to the value of the sale in FFP calculations due to the price of the player’s initial contract.However, Colwill is not thought to be one of the stars Chelsea are willing to sell this summer. More

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    ‘Err, since when?’, ask baffled fans as Mike Tyson reveals he’s a fan of random European giants with message to club

    FANS have been left baffled after Mike Tyson revealed he is a Benfica supporter.The 57-year-old heavyweight icon switched his boxing gloves for a club scarf in an unusual clip.Mike Tyson is a huge Benfica fanCredit: Twitter @SLBenficaBenfica turn 120 years old today and they gave fans a surprise birthday present.Tyson, sat in front of a huge red flag, wished them a happy anniversary.Kid Dynamite said: “Congratulations on a 120-year anniversary. Black Panther forever.””Black Panther” was the nickname of Benfica great Eusebio.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLFans were left shocked by Tyson’s allegiance to the Portuguese club, with one saying: “That’s so random.”Another added: “But since when has Mike Tyson been a Benfica fan? It turns out he has been a supporter for quite some time after previously posing for snaps with the squad during their pre-season tour of the US in 2015.But by that point he was already in love with Benfica, having tweeted about his admiration of Eusebio when he passed away the year before.Most read in FootballHOW TO GET FREE BETS ON FOOTBALLA friend is responsible for his surprise connection to the Lisbon-based side.Tyson revealed: “It’s been many years, but I still have that sweater at home. Watch Man Utd flop get incredible hero’s welcome from thousands of fans as he returns to Champions League club”It was offered by a friend of mine, a son of Portuguese immigrants in the United States.”He always spoke to me about Benfica and his passion for the club, so I was curious. “I’ve read about the story of the Glorious (Benfica’s nickname).” More

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    ‘Better than Zidane’ – EFL manager sparks fan meltdown with training ground goal ‘no other boss could dream of doing’

    DONCASTER ROVERS may be tempted to make their gaffer a player-manager.Rovers boss Grant McCann showed he still has it when he scored a stunning goal during a club training session.Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann has scored a stunning goal in trainingCredit: PAThe gaffer watched on as the players took part in a shooting drillCredit: X / @drfc_officialOne shot rattled off the bar and McCann followed in for the reboundCredit: X / @drfc_officialThe manager struck the falling ball on the volleyCredit: X / @drfc_officialHis effort flew into the back of the netCredit: X formerly Twitter / @drfc_officialMcCann reeled off in celebration leaving Doncaster players and staff stunnedCredit: X formerly Twitter / @drfc_officialMcCann, who retired from professional football in 2015, showed that he’s not lost his touch after nine years in the dugout instead of on the pitch.While seemingly overseeing a shooting drill the 43-year-old watched on as one of his players rattled a shot off the crossbar.After the ball bounced back off the woodwork it floated perfectly in the air and into the direction of the former Hull City boss.And as a former player McCann let his instinct take over and pulled off a stunning volley as the ball dropped into his path.READ MORE IN FOOTBALLThe thundering effort left the goalkeeper with no chance and as the ball rippled into the back of the net McCann reeled off in celebration.His players and fellow staff members were stunned and all cheered in celebration after watching the incredible moment.Fans were just as impressed too and took to social media to give the gaffer his flowers.One joked: “Get that man a kit!”Most read in FootballBEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERSWhile a second added: “That’s the Puskas award sorted.”And a third wrote: “No other League Two manager could even dream of doing that. Get yourself registered as a player Grant.Top 10 highest paid footballers in the world revealed with no Premier League players making the top five”Not only is he cheaper than Zidane, he’s better than Zidane.”And a fourth suggested that McCann would do a better job up top than the strikers on the books at Doncaster Rovers at the moment.They posted: “Player manager? Put the man up front!”On the pitch McCann had been struggling to get his team ticking with the Yorkshire club sitting 20th in League Two.But things look to be turning around with Doncaster now unbeaten in their last five league games edging closer to survival. More