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Alex Scott sends defiant message to women in football amid Joey Barton row

Broadcaster Scott declared ‘football is a better place with us all in it’ at the end of the BBC’s coverage of the WSL game between Arsenal and Chelsea

Luke Baker
Sunday 10 December 2023 15:27 GMT
Alex Scott sends defiant message to women in football after Joey Barton outbursts

Alex Scott sent a defiant message to women in football, claiming that the sport “is a better place with us all in it” at the end of a week where Joey Barton’s sexist outbursts have made headlines.

In a series of sexist tweets, recently-sacked Bristol Rovers manager and former one-cap England international Barton suggested that women “shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority” on men’s football, before comparing having women on commentary, co-commentary or punditry duty as “like me talking about knitting or netball”.

He also bemoaned the fact that “you cannot watch a game now without hearing the nonsense” and that “any man who says otherwise is an absolute fart parcel” as well as repeatedly calling any dissenters “eunuchs”. He then expanded his remit of rage to insist that “tokenistic” hiring practices mean there will no longer be any jobs available in men’s football for white, middle-aged, British men.

In an appearance on Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV, Barton also specifically took aim at Scott, who won 140 caps for England and has become a prominent pundit since her retirement, including as the current host of Football Focus on the BBC. “She hasn’t played in it [the men’s game],” said Barton. “One is 200 years old and one is about 40 years old… It’s the same rules but football is about a lot more than rules… The games are at two different speeds.”

After presenting live coverage of the Women’s Super League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea on Sunday afternoon – which was played in front of a WSL-record crowd of 59,042 at the Emirates Stadium – Scott took the opportunity to slyly hit back at Barton’s comments and deliver a heartfelt message to women in football.

"Just before we say goodbye,” began Scott. “To all the women in football, in front of the camera or behind it, to the players on the pitch, to everyone that attends games – keep being the role models that you continue to be to all those young girls that are told 'no, you can't'. Football is a better place with us all in it."

Another female broadcaster, Laura Woods, was among those to rebuke Barton for his initial comments earlier this week, saying: “Joey’s entitled to his opinion. If he feels that strongly about women in the men’s game he could ask for a private conversation with the broadcasters and state his case.

“These tweets only encourage a pile-on for the women getting on with their jobs. Or was that the intention?”

When asked about Barton’s comments in her pre-match press conference on Friday, Chelsea women’s manager Emma Hayes – who will leave her role to coach the USA women’s national team at the end of the season – reflected on the “systemic misogyny” faced by women in football.

She said: “The realities are male privilege has always been at the centre of football in this country. I feel that sport is the last place in society where that male privilege exists.”

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