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    Emile Heskey revels in new role ahead of Leicester’s clash with Man City

    EMILE HESKEY says he is loving the “family” vibe of being back at Leicester.
    And the Foxes icon paid tribute to the club this week after sharing his delight at becoming their first women’s football ambassador.

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    Emile Heskey, who is Leicester City’s women’s football ambassador, says he has always ‘gravitated’ back to the clubCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The former Liverpool star said: “I represented a lot of clubs but I always gravitated back to Leicester.
    “I was born and raised here, I played here and when I left to play for other clubs, they never really had the same feeling in terms of a family environment.
    “We did everything together and you saw that with the men’s team — and you are seeing that with the women, too.

    “About 15 years ago, my friend was a coach and asked me to talk to the women’s team. I gave a speech and fast forward to now and I’m back.”
    Heskey, 42, enjoyed a stellar 18-year career in the Premier League making 516 appearances including 124 at Leicester.

    “Women’s football has always been there, but it hasn’t really been pushed
    Emile Heskey

    The former Anfield frontman, who played in this year’s Soccer Aid alongside ex-Arsenal ace Kelly Smith, says he has been a long-term admirer of the women’s game.
    And while the Leicester-born forward praised Ian Wright for encouraging more fans to follow the sport, he believes Smith and figures like Brighton boss Hope Powell, should get more recognition.

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    Emile Heskey will be mentoring members of Leicester City’s women’s team as part of his new role at the clubCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Heskey added: “Women’s football has always been there, but it hasn’t really been pushed.
    ‘’I remember Doncaster Belles and I played in Soccer Aid with Kelly Smith and you realise how good they actually are.
    “It’s great to have Ian Wright and myself helping, but there are a lot of people who have done far more than we have.

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    Heskey believes players like ex-England playmaker Kelly Smith deserve greater recognition for their contribution to women’s footballCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    “Hope Powell is one of the reasons I started watching the national team.”
    In his new role, the 62-cap Three Lions striker, 43, will offer coaching advice to the Foxes’ women’s squad as well as mentoring their players.
    Leicester, second in the Championship, face WSL juggernauts Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

    Jamie Vardy signs new Leicester deal until 2023 keeping him at Foxes until he is 36 More

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    Women’s FA Cup seals record sponsorship deal with Vitality with prize fund set for review and Alex Scott as ambassador

    THE Women’s FA Cup has sealed a record three-year sponsorship deal with Vitality ahead of the postponed quarter-finals of the 2019-20 competition.
    Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of the Women’s Game, revealed there has been a “significant investment” from the health and life insurance company.

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    Man City won the last Women’s FA Cup with a 3-0 win over West HamCredit: Peter Tarry – The Sunday Times

    And while she wasn’t able to disclose the exact figure, she confirmed the prize-fund will also be reviewed.
    The winners of the women’s competition currently receive £25,000, whereas the winning men’s team will rake in an eye-watering £1.8MILLION next term.
    The men’s prize money was slashed in half from the £3.6m Arsenal received for beating Chelsea in August, due to the financial implications of Covid-19.
    Simmons said: “This is obviously day one of a brand-new partnership so we need to look at where we can take this investment,

    “And deliver the best value in terms of our aspirations around building and developing the women’s FA Cup. The prize fund will be part of that review.
    “Bringing a major brand in like Vitality at this moment demonstrates the power of women’s football and where the game is, and that brands and other partners want to get involved.
    “It’s been well documented we’ve had a lot of commercial interest in the WSL as well.
    “So, I think it says strongly really where women’s football is at. It’s on a big growth trajectory.”

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    Alex Scott (left) lifted the trophy with Kelly Smith (right) at Wembley with Arsenal in 2016Credit: PA:Press Association

    Arsenal and England legend Alex Scott, was announced as Vitality’s new ambassador this week.
    The former right-back has won seven FA Cups with the Gunners and recalls lifting the trophy at Wembley after beating Chelsea in 2016.
    She said: “I think the last time I won it with Arsenal I remember crying like a baby.
    “It was that emotional for me and I knew I was coming towards the end of my career.
    “So, to finally be able to play in the FA Cup, about seven times, and to finally get the showpiece game at Wembley now for the women,
    “For me to walk those stairs and lift the trophy was really the highlight of my career.
    “It’s just that moment is what you dream of as a young kid to be able to play at Wembley in an FA Cup final.
    “Even from my early days at Arsenal, we always knew that was a goal,
    “You want to get to the FA Cup final because it always has been and always will be the showpiece event in women’s football.”
    A peak audience of 2.2m watched Manchester City power to victory over West Ham in the 2019 final of the competition – with over 43,000 watching at Wembley.

    Watch Arsenal ace Vivianne Miedema score incredible goal against Reading More

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    Eric Dier reveals all over Tottenham bust-up with fan in stands after ‘f*** you’ row with his brother

    ERIC DIER told his Tottenham team-mates of his frustration and anger after he climbed into the stands to confront a fan.
    The defender was given a four-match ban and fined £40,000 by the FA for the incident.

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    The details of Eric Dier’s bust-up with a fan in the stands is revealed in Tottenham’s All Or Nothing documentaryCredit: PA:Empics Sport

    It happened at the end of Spurs’ FA Cup defeat on penalties at home to Norwich in March.
    Amazon Prime’s new documentary about the club, All Or Nothing, shows Dier returning to the dressing room afterwards.
    He tells the other players: “I was looking for my brother in the stand and there was a guy a couple of rows in front of my brother and he was going like this, ‘F*** you, f*** you, s***’.
    “He was a Tottenham fan, yeah, two rows below my brother.

    “That’s where my mother sits, that’s where my sister sits and everyone’s families sit.”
    The England star added: “Our parents have to stand there and have someone two rows in front call you a c*** and f***ing son of a b****, and a p**** and s*** and this — and they think it’s OK.”
    The documentary also revealed Daniel Levy’s command to Jose Mourinho to win trophies.
    Spurs have not lifted any silverware since the 2008 League Cup — and for their last top-flight title you have to go all the way back to 1961.

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    The Tottenham star climbed over the seats to confront a fan who was swearing in front of his brother

    Chairman Levy, who was appointed in 2001, said: “Tottenham when I took over was a much smaller club than it is today.
    “I saw this club as a sleeping giant. We are now in a period where we need to win.
    “I am a Spurs fan and I want to see this club continue to grow — and I want to see trophies.” More

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    Champions League referee and linesman BOTH spotted kissing their medal by eagle-eyed viewers after Bayern’s win over PSG

    THE Champions League officials could barely keep their excitement in as they BOTH kissed their medal.
    Bayern Munich became European kings for the sixth time after Kingsley Coman’s second-half header was enough to win the game.

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    The Champions League officials could barely keep their excitement in as they BOTH kissed their medal

    Superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were heartbroken after finishing runners-up.
    But referee Daniele Orsato and his assistant Lorenzo Manganelli were just as happy as the Bayern players as he beamed while collecting his medal.
    The Italian pair even gave it a kiss for good measure having helped officiate the biggest game of the campaign.
    Eagle-eyed viewers hailed the linesman for his passion post-match.

    One said: “These refs work their entire careers and majority of their life to ref this match! He’s proud!”
    Another said: “It’s means as much to them to officiate a final as it does a player to win it. It’s the pinnacle of their profession.”

    He touched the trophy on the way out at the start of the match. This, the Euros final and the World Cup final are the biggest honour an official can receive. Fair play to him.
    — Richard Clarke (@rgclarke92) August 23, 2020

    It’s means as much to them to officiate a final as it does a player to win it. It’s the pinnacle of their profession
    — Marty Mc Clorey (@MartyMcClorey) August 23, 2020

    The squad in the VAR room had a different night, though, having been questioned for not intervening following a collision with Joshua Kimmich and Mbappe.
    Referee Daniele Orsato indicated his belief that German Kimmich got the ball as the play unfolded.

    But replays suggested that was not the case, with Mbappe touching the ball away before hitting the deck.
    Whether that represented a clear and obvious error from the referee was left up for debate.
    BT Sport’s commentators insisted they had not received any signal that VAR had even checked the incident.

    Former Premier League referee Peter Walton stated that the decision could easily have been overturned.
    He said: “The more we look at it in slow motion, the more we can clearly see there was contact on Kylian Mbappe’s heel.
    “And it could have been given as a penalty kick.”

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    Bayern Munich became European kings for the sixth time

    Manuel Neuer lifts second Champions League trophy with Bayern Munich as German champions become first team ever to win ever game in a Champions League season More

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    FA Cup replays AXED for 2020/21 season in desperate bid to get competition finished in jam-packed campaign

    REPLAYS have been ditched from every round of the FA Cup next season to make sure the competition gets played.
    Ties will all be decided in one day from the extra preliminary round on September 1 right through to the final on May 15.

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    The 2020/21 FA Cup will have no replays to help cram the competition into a jam-packed seasonCredit: EPA
    FA bosses have been forced to make the unprecedented change in order to cram their competition into what is fast becoming a crazily-packed fixture programme.
    The qualifying rounds will be resolved by the end of October, before the first round proper sees teams from Leagues One and Two enter the tournament on November 7.
    Third-round ties will be played on or around January 9. That is the stage where Premier League and Championship sides join the competition.
    Last season, replays were scrapped from the fifth round onwards, with Spurs’ 3-2 win over Southampton on February 5 the last one of the 2019/20 FA Cup.

    Arsenal lifted the trophy for a record-extending 14th time, beating Chelsea in the final on August 1.
    Teams throughout the leagues are facing major problems getting their games played.
    The first four rounds of the Carabao Cup now confirmed to be crammed into September.
    Round one, involving EFL sides, will be played on September 5.

    That is just one week before the league campaigns are due to kick-off.
    Then rounds two, three and four will be staged each midweek from September 15/16.
    Premier League sides enter the tournament in the second round, except for those involved in European competitions who come in a round later.

    Watch Aubameyang drop FA Cup as two-goal Arsenal hero celebrates at Wembley More

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    Emiliano Martinez’s Twitter post from six years ago goes viral after Arsenal hero’s message over ‘hard work pays off’

    ARSENAL fans have latched on to an inspirational Twitter post by new hero Emiliano Martinez from six years ago.
    The Argentine was an understated figure at the Emirates until 2020, despite having been at the club for ten years.

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    Martinez posted a snap of himself doing extra gym-work in 2014

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    The Argentine won the FA Cup on SaturdayCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    But having established himself as understudy to Bernd Leno this season following Petr Cech’s retirement – he has finally become a popular player at the Emirates.
    And amid the toil and never-say-die attitude that kept the 27-year-old believing that he could succeed at Arsenal, Martinez was sure to keep putting out positive messages.
    He tweeted back in 2014, alongside a picture of himself in the club’s gym: “hard work and doing that little bit extra eventually pays off #positive”.
    At that point Martinez had made just two first-team appearances for the Gunners, although had been on the bench on more occasions.

    He has now racked up 37 games in total, with none more special than the most recent.
    When asked about his family in South America after the match, Martinez broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the emotions of the occasion.
    He initially said: “I can’t really talk.”

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    Emi Martinez was visibly emotional after the matchCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    And after a hug from match-winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martinez added: “I said to him before the game ‘You’re going to win us the game because you’re captain’ and he did it.”

    He also further endeared himself to the already-adoring Arsenal fans after the game, after being picked up on a microphone in the tunnel declaring: “I don’t care about the money.” after winning the cup.
    And the commanding 6ft 5in stopper certainly knows how to celebrate properly, after stopping off at McDonald’s alongside team-mate Lucas Torreira to pick up some post-match grub.

    Arsenal hero Emiliano Martinez wins over yet more fans after being heard saying ‘I don’t care about money’ after cup win More

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    Chelsea fans fume at VAR after Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez goes unpunished for ‘blatant handball’

    ARSENAL keeper Emiliano Martinez may have got away with a handball outside of the box in the FA Cup final.
    Chelsea fans were left furious with Anthony Taylor’s performance as Arsenal beat the Blues 2-1.

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    Chelsea fans were fuming at VAR over a potential Emiliano Martinez handball – although it is unclear if the second image has been edited
    Mateo Kovacic was sent off after the softest of second yellow cards and a number of other major decisions appeared to go in Arsenal’s favour.
    Even West Ham midfielder Declan Rice – one of Chelsea’s top transfer targets – was not impressed with what he saw.
    One major decision was when Martinez came racing out of his box to sweep up a long ball over the top.
    The Argentinian keeper appeared to go too far, going past the ball before catching it and diving back into his box.

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    Anthony Taylor gave a soft red card to Chelsea midfielder Mateo KovacicCredit: EPA

    UNBELIEVABLE decisions by Ref and VAR today.. I want to know why the Martinez handball outside the box wasn’t replayed or that tackle by Kovacic wasn’t overturned?????#farce
    — demetris kellaris (@demykellaris) August 1, 2020

    Honestly … thoughWhy did my broadcast not show one replay of the handball by Martinez? Not one. I have Martin Tyler on call. I assume it’s a popular broadcast.NOT. ONE. REPLAY.
    — Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) August 1, 2020

    Feel like the Martinez possible handball probably at least deserved a replay?
    — Nick (@ManUnitedYouth) August 1, 2020

    Anthony Taylor missed the most blatant handball in the FA Cup final against Arsenal in 2017. In 2020, he awards the softest penalty in Arsenal’s favour and sends off Kovacic after a perfectly legitimate second challenge. I’m sure that’s merely coincidence… right?! #CFC
    — Llion Carbis (@carbislli) August 1, 2020

    Chelsea fans were not impressed when handball was not given – and even more upset when there was no visual check from VAR and a lack of replays on the TV coverage.
    From the first angle it was difficult to tell if it was in or outside of the box, with viewers being told that VAR checked it and deemed it fine.
    Later on social media, an alternative angle surfaced and appeared to show Martinez WAS outside the box.
    The image is said to have come from the Norwegian broadcast of the game.

    However, it is difficult to tell if the image has been doctored with some claiming the picture had been edited.
    After the defeat Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was certainly less than impressed with Taylor’s performance – especially the red card.
    He fumed after the game: “That is nowhere near [a red card] and it changes the game.
    “I cannot fault the lads effort for pushing but that is never a red card but again coming back to us we did not do enough to win the final.”

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    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was not impressed with referee Anthony TaylorCredit: AFP

    VAR could not overturn the decision made by Anthony Taylor due to the rule that it cannot involve itself in yellow card incidents, a rule which Lampard believes the FA need to review.
    He continued: “What kind of rule is that? There has always been this one about how you couldn’t challenge two yellows.
    “Someone is sitting there stubbornly sticking to their guns on that one because if we have VAR that is great.
    “Let’s use it as much as we can to get the right decision.” More

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    Chelsea target Declan Rice questions referee Anthony Taylor as Blues fans fume at ‘disgraceful’ FA Cup final performance

    CHELSEA target Declan Rice was among those to question Anthony Taylor’s performance in the FA Cup final.
    Fans of the Blues were left raging with the referee after a series of decisions went against the Blues in a 2-1 defeat at Wembley.

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    Referee Anthony Taylor has been blasted by Chelsea fans for his performance in the FA Cup finalCredit: Reuters

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    Taylor showed Mateo Kovacic a red card after the softest of second yellowsCredit: EPA

    Several major incidents seemed to go Arsenal’s way, with Mateo Kovacic sent off after an extremely soft second yellow card the most high-profile decision.
    Chelsea fans were also outraged by the decision not go to give Chelsea a late foul on the edge of the box – and for Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez appearing to handle outside the box.
    The stats appeared to back Chelsea’s complaints with the Blues conceding 14 fouls to just two four Arsenal and picking up six bookings to one.
    And West Ham star Rice, who played for Chelsea as a youngster and is wanted again by the club, summed up a lot of fans’ feelings.

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    West Ham star, and Chelsea target, Declan Rice was among those unimpressed by Taylor’s performanceCredit: EPA
    He wrote on Twitter: “Some of the decisions in this game today…”
    Chelsea fans were a lot more forthright with their anger.
    LDNFootball wrote: “One of the most disgraceful refereeing performances I’ve ever seen from Anthony Taylor today.
    “Kovacic red card is an embarrassingly bad decision – Mount yellow was awful… Shocking.”

    Some of the decisions in this game today…
    — Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) August 1, 2020

    congratulations to Anthony Taylor. match-winning performance.
    — amadí ¨̮ (@amadoit__) August 1, 2020

    Congratulations on your trophy Anthony Taylor. 🐍
    — CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) August 1, 2020

    Anthony Taylor, looks like corruption at its finest. Simple as that.
    — Younes H-Hamou (@youneshh) August 1, 2020

    One of the most disgraceful refereeing performances I’ve ever seen from Anthony Taylor today.- Kovačić red card is an embarrassingly bad decision- Mount yellow was awful- Given Chelsea just 2 free kicks, while giving 13 to ArsenalShocking. pic.twitter.com/KWqyocgITV
    — LDN (@LDNFootbalI) August 1, 2020

    You won Anthony Taylor.I hope it makes you happy. Dear lord what a sad little life you ruined the Final so you could have the trophy, I hope you use the prize money on learning some grace and decorum because you have all grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on. pic.twitter.com/N9SasYMI7z
    — Uber Chelsea FC 🏆 (@UberCheIseaFC) August 1, 2020

    Uber Chelsea added: “You won Anthony Taylor. I hope it makes you happy.
    “Dear lord what a sad little life, you ruined the Final so you could have the trophy, I hope you use the prize money on learning some grace and decorum because you have all grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on.”
    Younes said: “Looks like corruption at its finest. Simple as that.”
    While Ali wrote: “No wonder Arsenal can’t pay the [Thomas] Partey fee.
    “They’ve paid half of it to Anthony Taylor for a chance to play in the Europa League.”

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    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was less than impressed with the refereeCredit: AFP
    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was also less than impressed with the ref.
    He fumed after the game: “That is nowhere near [a red card] and it changes the game.
    “I cannot fault the lads effort for pushing but that is never a red card but again coming back to us we did not do enough to win the final.”

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    Arsenal won the FA Cup after a 2-1 winCredit: Getty – Pool

    VAR could not overturn the decision made by Anthony Taylor due to the rule that it cannot involve itself in yellow card incidents, a rule which Lampard believes the FA need to review.
    He continued: “What kind of rule is that? There has always been this one about how you couldn’t challenge two yellows.
    “Someone is sitting there stubbornly sticking to their guns on that one because if we have VAR that is great.
    “Let’s use it as much as we can to get the right decision.” More