Football authorities must do more to rid game of sexism

Leading academic points to increasing trend of disrespect to female healthcare professionals working in sport

 Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro has been subjected to sexist chanting during Premier League games. Photograph:   Mike Egerton/PA

Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro has been subjected to sexist chanting during Premier League games. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

 

While football authorities and clubs have actively campaigned to “stamp out racism in their sport,” they must do more to stop sexism, the British Society of Sports Therapists has said.

“It is a thin line between racism and sexism,” Prof Graham N Smith, head of the society and an external lecturer for the MSc in Sports Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, said on Friday.

Smith said that there appeared to have been “an increasing trend of disrespect shown towards female healthcare professionals working in sport, particularly football.”

With more and more women working with and for football teams “at all levels of the game,” the Society of Sports Therapists is extremely concerned, Smith said.

If disrespect to female professionals is allowed to continue, “fans will soon see it as something that they are permitted to do,” Smith added.

He believes the sport could lose some “very dedicated and professional practitioners who provide it with a vital and necessary service” if the trend continues.

Football authorities and governing bodies should do everything in their power to punish clubs, individuals and organisations where there is a blatant disregard of respect for professionals working in sport, regardless of their gender, Smith said.

Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro recently had her responsibilities significantly reduced at the request of manager José Mourinho.

She had attended an injured Eden Hazard at the end of Chelsea’s drawn match against Swansea on August 11th. Carneiro had previously been in the news when she was subject to offensive sexist chanting last season by Manchester United and Arsenal fans.

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