Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says women are ‘routinely used to dealing with systemic misogyny and bullying’ in football.
It follows comments made by ex-footballer Joey Barton on X, in which he criticized women working in the men’s game.
Barton, 41, said women “shouldn’t talk with any kind of authority” about men’s football.
“The reality is that male privilege has always been at the heart of football in this country,” said Hayes.
“I think sports is the last place in society where that male privilege exists.”
When asked about Barton’s comments at a press conference on Friday, Hayes did not mention the former Manchester City and QPR player directly.
“I don’t expect any individual personality to understand their privilege. Nevertheless, all you have to do is see dozens of women on the internet or in the business – be they coaches, presenters, players – we are routinely used to dealing with systemic misogyny, bullying and behavior that is quite normal for a large part of the football public.”
Hayes, who is set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season to become head coach of the US women’s national team, has been in charge of the Blues since 2012 and guided them to six Women’s Super League titles.
She has also worked as a pundit on men’s and women’s football, including for ITV on the 2021 Men’s European Championship.
“If you haven’t experienced systemic misogyny, like many of us, you cannot for a moment understand how damaging some of these conversations are, knowing that everything anyone says just enables absolute pile-on, especially on social media,” she says. said.
“When it comes to the sport of football in this case, we must remember that society is not always well represented in the media or in the game when it comes to coaching or playing.”
Last month, Barton, who was sacked as Bristol Rovers manager in October, was criticized describes the racist murder of teenager Anthony Walker as a “scrap”.
His brother Michael Barton was 17 when he and his cousin Paul Taylor were jailed for life in the 2005 murder of the 18-year-old with an ice axe.
In October 2022, Barton was acquitted of assaulting his wife after a judge ruled he could not get a fair trial.
Barton has been criticized by fans and women in the industry, including TNT Sports host Laura Woods, who said his comments “encourage the women to continue their work”.
Speaking on Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show on Thursday, he said the use of female pundits and presenters in men’s football was part of a “woke agenda”.
Hayes added that she wanted to “highlight the positive contributions” of women in sport and emphasized that women working in other professions would not face the same criticism.
“We wouldn’t go into a hospital and have a female doctor performing a surgical procedure on someone’s kidney — we wouldn’t turn around and say to that surgeon, ‘I hope she’s a good patient, because being a good patient means that you’I’ll be a good doctor’.
“It’s the same if you’re a great banker: Does that mean you have to be a frugal lender to be a good banker?”
“Similarly, do you have to be a well-traveled passenger to be a good pilot?”
Hayes said it’s an “interesting debate” but could be done “better or in a different way.”
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