English women fly the flag

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The Independent Online

It is not often that Graham Kelly, chief executive of the Football Association, astonishes the world of football, but today will be the exception.

For at 4pm, the FA's contribution to a 24-hour round-the-world football extravaganza will kick off at Highbury, but the players it has chosen to represent England will be women.

"The Day the World Played Football" is part of the United Nations' 50th anniversary celebrations. All national associations belonging to Fifa were invited to designate matches in each of the 24 time zones to create a 24-hour ribbon of football matches occurring simultaneously around the world.

Most matches will be men-only games, but, Kelly nominated an Arsenal versus Liverpool women's match to emphasise the FA's commitment to the development of women's football, which it took over from the Women's Football Association two years ago.

"The women's game is experiencing strong growth in England, as seen by the performance of our international team in reaching the quarter finals of this summer's Women's World Cup, and I am sure that the two teams will provide an entertaining spectacle to match the occasion," Kelly said.