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Sports round-up: 18-24 November

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women's sports, UK news round upWelcome to our weekly bulletin of British women’s sports news and results from around the globe.

Football:

A £2.4 million scheme to increase the participation of women and girls in football was announced this week.

The Football Association (FA), Sport England, the Premier League and the Football League are collaborating to deliver the programme, which aims to attract 40,000 more women and girls to the sport.

The money will fund season-long coaching sessions for 14-25 year-olds. Clubs will work with county football associates as well as schools and universities to attract participants.

The FA’s general secretary Alex Horne told the BBC, “This is a fantastic initiative. The professional clubs’ brands will attract more players and we know that qualified coaches will deliver top-class coaching sessions just where we need them.”

Tennis:

Former British number one Elena Baltacha announced her retirement from professional tennis earlier this week.

The 30 year-old Scot reached a career high ranking of 49 in 2010. She reached the third round of the Australian Open twice, and the third round of Wimbledon once.

“It just feels it’s the right time,” she told Sportsister. “My body has taken such a bruising over the last 16 years and that’s finally taken its toll.

“I have had some amazing experiences through playing tennis – some incredible highs and some very low lows – and I wouldn’t change any of them but now my mind and my body are telling me it’s time to move on to a new phase of my life.”

Meanwhile, current British number one Laura Robson has announced that she will be coached by American Nick Saviano next season.

She has been without a coach since splitting from Miles Maclagan in October.

Cycling:

The Union Cycliste International (UCI) has announced new rules to increase the representation of women in world cycling’s management structure.

In line with new President Brian Cookson’s pledge to develop women’s cycling, there is to be a woman on each of the UCI’s commissions.

Cookson, the former head of British Cycling, said he was delighted by the announcement.

In the UK, British Cycling has announced a team of 16 riders who will represent Great Britain in the next round of the UCI Track World Cup series next month.

At the first round in Manchester in early November, Great Britain won eight medals, putting them at the top of the points ranking. Much of the team will stay the same for the second round, which will take place in Aguascalientes, Mexico, from 5-7 December.

Becky James and Jess Varnish will compete in the sprint events.

Great Britain’s world record breaking pursuit team of Elinor Barker, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott will be joined by Katie Archibald in the endurance events.

On the road side, Bury St Edmunds is to host the finish of the final stage of the 2014 Women’s Tour of Britain, the organisers confirmed on 21 November.

The race will be five stages long, and begins on 7 May 2014 in Oundle.

Rugby:

England Women’s Sevens team will be coached by former Leeds Carnegie player and coach Simon Middleton in the new year.

“I am very excited about this new role and working with the RFU,” he said. “Personally I feel it’s the appointment I’ve been preparing for since I started my coaching career.

“To coach your country has to be the ambition of any coach and the pinnacle of any coach’s career.”

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