Emma Hayes reacts to Joey Barton’s comments, highlighting the enduring influence of male privilege in English football.
In a misogynistic rant, former Manchester City midfielder Barton expressed the view that women shouldn’t hold any authoritative roles in the men’s game. The former footballer made these comments in response to Amazon Prime’s coverage of top-flight midweek fixtures, which prominently featured female commentators and pundits.
Unleashing a scathing attack, Hayes criticized the former footballer, refraining from mentioning him by name. She asserted that female sportspersons face “systemic misogyny” consistently day in and day out.
Hayes believes there is a systemic misogyny against Women in football
Hayes 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 male privilege exists.
“I don’t expect any individual to understand their privilege. Nonetheless, you only have to see scores of women across the internet or in the business – whether that’s coaches, presenters, or players – we’re routinely used to dealing with systemic misogyny, bullying and behaviour that has been pretty normal for a large part of the football public.”
Hayes, who worked as a TV pundit during the men’s Euros 2021 for ITV, takes pride in leading Chelsea to six Women’s Super League titles.
Hayes added: “If you haven’t experienced systemic misogyny like lots of us have, you can’t for one moment understand how detrimental some of these conversations are knowing that anything anyone says just enables an absolute pile on, particularly on social media,” she said. “When it comes to the sport of football in this case, we have to remember that society isn’t always as well represented across the media or the game in coaching or playing.”
In October, League One team Bristol Rovers sacked Barton. He drew widespread criticism for describing the racist murder of teenager Anthony Walker as a “scrap.” Barton’s infamous family background gained attention when his brother, Michael Barton, received a life sentence for his involvement in the 2005 killing of the 18-year-old, alongside his cousin Paul Taylor.