Girl hurt as women’s football match turns to brawl

A 17-year-old football player was beaten up during a football match in Paris on Saturday. Her coach has said he now plans to quit because of violence in the game.

A friendly match between two teams of girls turned brutal on Saturday, when a player – whose team won the game 6-3 – was beaten up.

Noor, 17 years old, has a 10-cm sore on her leg, a contusion on her shoulder and a paralysed hand after being assaulted at the end of the match.

She was playing for a girl’s team from Saint-Germain-en-Laye, west of Paris, against a team from the capital’s posh 16th district and scored four goals during the match.

Daily Le Parisien reported that Noor was attacked when she was celebrating victory at the end of the game.

“The goalkeeper punched me in the face. I spun around and then she grabbed my hair and dragged me to the floor. Then several girls from the other team started kicking me,” Noor told police.

The coaches from both teams tried to protect the victim.

Claude, the volunteer coach training Noor’s team, said he plans to hand in his notice at the end of the season.

“I have to show the girls I am strong and not let anything show. They were so courageous and dignified. But for me, it’s over,” he told Le Parisien.

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Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post

Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.

Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post
Pope Francis has appointed Nathalie Becquart as undersecretary of the synod of bishops. She is the first woman to hold the post. Photo: AFP

Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.

The appointment signals the pontiff's desire “for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church”, said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the synod.

“During the previous synods, the number of women participating as experts and listeners has increased,” he said.

“With the nomination of Sister Nathalie Becquart and her possibility of participating in voting, a door has opened.”

The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote, with the next gathering scheduled for autumn 2022.

A special synod on the Amazon in 2019 saw 35 female “auditors” invited to the assembly, but none could vote.

The Argentinian-born pope has signalled his wish to reform the synod and have women and laypeople play a greater role in the church.

He named Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin as the other under undersecretary in the synod of bishops.

Becquart, 52, a member of the France-based Xaviere Sisters, has a master's degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris and studied in Boston before joining the order.