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SBD Global/July 11, 2013/International Football

BBC Commentator Jacqui Oatley Accuses ManU Of Betraying Women's Game

Female commentator Jacqui Oatley said the world’s richest football club, ManU, "stands out like a sore thumb" for its lack of support for the women’s game in England, according to Ian Burrell of the London INDEPENDENT. Oatley, the BBC Match of the Day broadcaster, said that ManU was conspicuous by its absence from women’s football since '05, "despite the major commitment to the female game made by some of the Old Trafford club’s biggest Premier League rivals." She said, "It’s great that Manchester City are taking [women’s football] seriously. The one that stands out like a sore thumb is Manchester United." Oatley compared ManU unfavorably to other big Premier League clubs that have embraced women's football. She said, "Arsenal deserve so much credit for pushing women’s football forward and you look at the benefits they have had. They have won 18 major trophies since the Arsenal men last won one. Manchester United is the one missing club." Oatley "was herself the victim of prejudice after becoming the first female commentator on Match of the Day six years ago" (INDEPENDENT, 7/9).

A CLOSED BOOK: In London, Marina Hyde opined "scarcely watchable, wildly over-remunerated, explicable only by conspiracy theories: how neat that John Inverdale's perennial criticisms of women's tennis should read like verdicts on himself." The irony "would be lost on John, of course, for whom subtlety will for ever be a closed book." But if the producers of next year's flagship "Today At Wimbledon" show are short of ideas, "might I suggest that during Inverdale's opening monologue on day one of the 2014 championships, he is literally removed from the set." Getting the hook, they "used to call it in vaudeville, after the practice of physically yanking bad acts off stage with an extended shepherd's crook." Perhaps the greatest trick Inverdale has pulled "is his apparent success in convincing his bosses that the Bartoli business was some form of clumsy aberration, when in fact it is entirely of a piece with the manner in which he has covered the sport since I can remember" (GUARDIAN, 7/10).

ATTRACTING ATTENTION: Also in London, Hadley Freeman opined, "To my mind, the most shocking aspect of the Inverdale episode is not that he dribbled such sexist diarrhoea -- there will always be idiots out there -- but that the BBC still allowed him to commentate on the men's singles final the next day." Yet, "while Inverdale has attracted the most attention, there was another strong current of sexism that ran throughout the fortnight, one that has become an annual feature of not just Wimbledon -- although it is certainly that -- but any event in this country that involves high-profile men." Throughout Wimbledon, "the girlfriends of the male players were gawked at and purred over, their attributes detailed as clinically as discussions of the players' diets." No shot of Murray's in the final, successful or otherwise, "was deemed complete by the BBC without a cutaway shot to Kim Sears sitting in the stands." Sears "was deemed by more than one paper to fare especially poorly against the girlfriend of Jerzy Janowicz, who had thrillingly posed in Playboy." Despite "that unarguable advantage," Janowicz still lost to Murray in the semifinal (GUARDIAN, 7/9).
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