Zinedine Zidane now says he is counting on Gareth Bale at Real Madrid

Updated 16 August 2019
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Zinedine Zidane now says he is counting on Gareth Bale at Real Madrid

  • Zidane said Friday he is counting on Bale for the season
  • Madrid in 2013 paid a then world-record fee of 100 million euros for Welsh forward

MADRID: Less than a month after saying Gareth Bale's transfer would be good for everyone, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has called the Wales forward an important player for his squad.
Zidane said Friday he is counting on Bale for the season that begins for Real Madrid with a visit to Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.
"It looked like he was going to leave but now he is here with us," Zidane said. "Things change. I will count on him. He has a good record and is an important player and I hope that all the players want to make it difficult for me to pick the team."
Zidane last month stated his desire to get rid of Bale by saying the club was negotiating the player's transfer and that his exit would be "better for everyone's sake."
Madrid in 2013 paid a then world-record fee of 100 million euros (then $132 million) to sign Bale from English club Tottenham.
Zidane also said he is "happy" to have playmaker James Rodríguez in the squad despite talks he could still be transferred after the loan to Bayern Munich ended last season.
"I will repeat what I said the other day, I will count on everyone who is here," Zidane said. "They are also happy to be here."


Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

Updated 22 September 2019
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Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

  • FIFA traveled to Iran ahead of the weekend for talks on the matter of women and football
  • The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums since 1981

MILAN: FIFA has been “assured” that Iran will lift its 40-year ban and allow women to attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

Football’s governing body wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums that breaches international football statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a football stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

“There is women’s football in Iran but we need Iranian women as well to be able to attend the men’s game,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a speech at a conference on women’s football on Sunday. “And we need to push for that with respect but in a strong and forceful way. We cannot wait anymore.

“We have been assured, that as of the next international game of Iran, women will be allowed to enter football stadiums. This is something very important, it is 40 years that this has not happened, with a couple of exceptions, but it is important to move to the next level and to the next stage.”

FIFA sent an inspection team to Iran this week to meet government and football officials ahead of Iran’s match against Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10 — its first home match of the 2022 qualifying competition.

Infantino’s comments drew praise from United States outgoing coach Jill Ellis, who was at the same FIFA conference in Milan, two months after leading the American women’s team to a second successive World Cup title.

“I think it’s huge,” Ellis said. “FIFA has enough of a pull and ability to influence change and I think it’s absolutely the right thing. I mean I don’t think there should be any discrimination period and to not allow women to go see football I think is, I just can’t even wrap my brain around it in terms of it being something. I think if FIFA can influence that, I think it’s great.”