Okay, I get it. You don’t like women’s football. You think it’s too slow, less technical, less physical or whatever your issue is. That’s your opinion and you have a right to that.
What you don’t have a right to is to denigrate the game in a crude, offensive and sexist manner. Much as some of the members of the Football Weekly podcast did during the last minute of their Champions League final podcast.
Many (although to be fair not all) of the revolving members of the Guardian’s podcast have made clear their thinly veiled contempt of the women’s game for the two minutes a season (if that) they make a mention of women’s football.
Again it is their opinion and right not to rate it but if that is the case I (as an avid listener) would prefer that they just didn’t talk about it. At all.
That would be a hundred times more preferable than the following conversation.
James Richardson: Wolfsburg becoming the ladies champions in that dramatic game on Friday against Lyon. Quite a story that one and thanks to the many people who have posted in about that to keep us, I was going to say abreast, but they would take that wrong. To keep us informed about what was happening [laughter] in that game.
Rafa Honigstein: I mean it all went tits up for Lyon didn’t it. [more laughter]
JR: [laughter] Hey, hey
James Horncastle: Bravo
Barry Glendenning: They were good for periods. [more raucous laughter]
— Jenna Pel (@jenna_awk) May 28, 2013
As did reputable football analyist Tony Tannous: https://twitter.com/TonyTannousTRBA/status/339349663318675457
Now I’m not precious. I was around and reporting on men’s football well before women’s football. I have been sworn at while refereeing men’s over 35s matches and under age boys premier league games and hung around footballers for close to a decade and have heard every conceivable expletive used.
I didn’t take offence to much but I do take extreme offence to this.
If they had bothered to watch the game, they would have seen a fine match of two contrasting styles. That’s not just my opinion but that of many men who watched the game as well.
They would have seen an excellent, disciplined team performance from Wolfsburg, who by the way won the treble (German League, Cup and Champions League) this season, against a powerhouse Lyon side with some of the best technical and intelligent players in the world.
Double shame on Rafa Honigstein for mocking a club from his home country who defeated a Lyon team that hadn’t lost a Champions League match in two years. A club that contained double World Cup winner Martina Müller, a player who has brought home silverware to Germany time and again.
Quick question Rafa, when was the last time the men’s national team won a major international tournament?
Women’s football is finally finding its feet and its done it with no thanks to the many who display the same contempt demonstrated by the podcasters at the Guardian.
The game is finding its feet despite the football apartheid that lasted for over five decades in Europe.
While the men’s game was allowed to flourish, the women’s game languished and was dormant. Many forget that in the early 1920s, women’s football in the UK drew larger crowds than men’s football. And of course we can’t have that happening.
We are not asking for much. Just a chance to let us grow organically much like the men’s game did. Yes it wasn’t all pretty and sophisticated in the beginning but then again have you watched some of the football in the 1980s?
We are going to get there; growing pains and all. But if you don’t like it, please don’t talk about it. Particularly in those terms above.
It’s the least you can do.
Update: Since publication of this article the Guardian have since edited the Football Weekly podcast and posted an apology:
Please note that we have re-edited the podcast, taking out the section that caused some anger on the blog and elsewhere. What we said wasn’t big and it wasn’t clever – but it certainly wasn’t meant to cause offence. Our sincere apologies if it did. You should, rightly, expect better of Football Weekly (and the Guardian).