Two differering emotions from two big women’s sport stories

Right, I’ve been otherwise engaged for the past month but have a couple of women’s sport-related happenings to get off my chest.

First up, the Friends Life Women’s Tour. Mostly when writing about sport I ditch the advertisingHannah-Barnes-Tour-of-Britain moniker and just write the event name. Waste Management Phoenix Open, anyone? However, today I’m bigging up Friends Life for sponsoring the fabulous inaugural elite women’s race on UK roads in May 2014. Crying Olympians, torrential downpours, lung-busting sprint finishes, near misses with mobility scooters, it had it all.

Best of all, I could come home after day’s work put my feet up, crack open a tinny and swallow the little lump in my throat due to the momentous occasion of being able to watch women’s sport on prime time TV – thank you ITV4. Lovely, lovely.

I may even visit the Friends Life website and from someone who has a list of companies never to use because of irritating associations – RBS for covering rugby players in blue dye having rolled around in the advertisement daubed onto the pitch, for example – that’s saying something.

Meanwhile, turns out, leaked comments attributed to Richard Scudamore, the head honcho at the Premier League, the supposed champion of equality in football and the man who has been working with the FA to promote a multi-million pound women and girls’ programme, doesn’t practice what he preaches.

Apparently happy to have women referred to as ‘gash’, and ‘big-t****d broads’ – in private email banter between mates, granted, but within emails carrying the domain – has resulted in Scudamore fighting for his job.

Powerful independent board member Heather Rabbatts has suggested that Scudamore should ‘give serious consideration to his position’. England Women’s goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis suggests the emails are ‘an insult to all women’. Edward Lord, Football Association anti-discrimination adviser, said Scudamore’s role looked ‘untenable’.

Having been in a workplace environment where banter has overstepped the mark to the point where I’ve left the room, these leaked emails have put in mind a boysy atmosphere at the top of English football, an image they’re desperately trying to shed. For me, Scudamore has to go. He can’t possibly stay considering his remit to promote women’s football. Can he?

Might have to cancel that ticket to Rio, eh Richard?


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