Television sports presenter Clare Balding has hit out at men’s football, has said its fans are “racist and homophobic”, and that male footballers fake injuries, unlike their female counterparts.
Writing for her column in Stylist magazine, the openly-gay presenter said that women’s football required more skill, and that female footballers didn’t dive or swear at referees.
Clare, 42, wrote: “If you go to a Woman’s Super League match this season, prepare yourself for disappointment.
“You won’t see any diving or swearing at the ref. There won’t be any racist chanting from the fans or homophobic abuse…. There won’t be any hopeful hoofing of the ball halfway up the pitch and there won’t be any feigning of injury.
“However, if you enjoy football that relies on skill rather than power, you will love the WSL.”
Ms Balding’s article coincided with claims by Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand that he and his brother Anton were subject to racist chanting by England supporters during a recent match against San Marino which England won 8-0.
He said an offensive song was aimed at him after he pulled out of playing for the England squad.
Rio tweeted today: “You expect and accept banter from fans on the terraces… but racism is not banter & from ya own fans.
“WOW. Always a small minority who ruin it for others.”
Ms Balding was recently given the best presenter award at the Royal Television Society Awards for her work on the BBC coverage of the Olympics.
Speaking to the Public Bills Committee to give evidence in favour of equal marriage, Clare Balding’s civil patner Alice Arnold, former BBC broadcaster said she thought homophobia was still rife, but that it would be reduced if same-sex couples could marry.
She pointed to Twitter, and said that homophobic tweets about herself and her civil partner, Clare Balding, were “filthy”, but that equal marriage could bring us closer to “true equality” which would bring down the amount of homophobia.