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  • Anita Abayomi

Breaking the Rules, Changing the game ! #GoalDiggersPodcast

Updated: May 10, 2021

Alexa Play Cardi B – Bodak Yellow

“One time I violated a guy cause he try play me, like ‘what’s the offside rule?’ Alright, let’s take your hair line for example.” Me 2019.

Hey guys, I’m back with another one (DJ Khaled voice). Focusing less on the game in itself and more on the people who watch it. Breaking the rules and changing the game is the motto for me this year, as it clearly is with my football club Chelsea FC. We all watch football through the same two eyes but share different visions, however the vision of the patriarch still succeeds that of the woman. It is a problem and it needs to be addressed.

Coming from a personal perspective, being female and speaking about football had become a chore growing up. The constant second guessing coupled with ignorant dismissals became demoralizing. Having played the sport and watched it religiously from a young age, it is insulting to have my opinions disregarded. Let me tell you about the first time I realized we left the footballing industry in patriarchy.

Being 15 in an all girls school, it was hard enough trying to mask my love for football. I wasn’t sure how receptive my friends would be to it so I kept it on the low for a good 4 years. It was no secret that I was more on the tom boyish side and I did enjoy the sport but my emotions were unlocked on May 19th 2012. Famous day! Best memory I have as a Chelsea fan. Watching the Champions League final with my dad was an unwarranted gift. I didn’t care how I looked on my BBM. I kept changing my status after every foul, every free kick and every goal. Once Drogba’s header went in, the passion flooded my statuses on my friends BBM’S. Weird to think this was during BBM days. Wow we’re old ! After the last penalty was taken and I changed my status to “I’m actually crying right now”; I received my first “Get back in the kitchen”.

“Get Back In the Kitchen”

If I had a tenner for every time I heard this phrase, I promise you I’d be maybe a thousandaire. But if I had a pound for every time a man has thought this, I’d be living in a penthouse suite up in Monaco. Joke’s aside, this line is boring. We are in a century where phrases like this do not need to be rendered. It’s been said so many times in several different forms that we as women are now immune to it. Not just in football, but with any sport; telling us to “get back in the kitchen” is derogatory. Dismissing our opinions due to our gender is disrespectful. Sexism should be taken as seriously homophobia. I say this because homophobia was once frowned upon in society and as it is rapidly becoming accepted, the decline in gender roles should also be protected. The footballing world is doing their part incorporate women into the sport through presenters such as Alex Scott and Eni Aluko, but are they doing enough to break the barriers?

“What do women know about the offside rule?” – Andy Gray

Lol, Andy let’s discuss this hair line of yours. Andy Gray and Richard Keys, once my favourite commentators, holding up the barrier that separates the male and female vision… Literally. Complaining about a woman being a linesman ? Come on mate. The month of January 2011 saw the famous pair under severe scrutiny for their off air recorded conversation regarding a female linesman, Sian Massey during the Wolverhampton vs Liverpool Match. Now, having a female linesman is one thing. The occasional inappropriate remarks on looks is expected, however to question one’s discretion drastically using their gender as the stand point is obscene. We all remember her spot on judgement of Fernando Torres’ goal, if not click here for a rough reminder. Her decisions were spot on through out the match, just a shame that the praise was masked by ignorance of the commentators.

Handled near perfectly, Sky Sports consequently announced the dismissal of Andy Gray. It took further evidence to do so, as if a leaked recording wasn’t enough but it was a major step for Sky Sports’ most elite commentator. The general manager for the Professional Game Match Officials with a touch of class backed the 25 year old Sian Massey in saying “Sian has the full backing of PGMO and we hope she continues her development, which has shown excellent progress so far. It is important for PGMO to have talented people from all backgrounds getting involved in refereeing. The more people are attracted to the game the better standards will be and the more everyone can talk about the football”. No cap.

“I’m not out here trying to be better than any male or female. There’s room for us all to rise” – Alex Scott.

May I get a resounding “BIG FACTS”. There is the assumption that ladies who speak on football, whether they play or not have something they want to prove. Let me make this very clear, this is not the case. Never was the case and never will be the case. Just like men, we enjoy watching the sport, we enjoying commentating on it, giving our own opinion on decisions made and that’s okay. I guess this is where the foul mentality comes from when men dismiss our comments. Okay, forget the dismissal of our comments and the derogatory remarks, let’s focus on the shock that comes with a woman who knows her shit. Quick retrospective glance at the world cup last summer. Eniola Aluko with a perfect Costa Rica Analysis and Patrice Evra with the Patronizing applause.


I rest my case.

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, To make themselves smaller…. Otherwise you will threaten the man”.- Chimamanda Ngozi

Quoted from a Beyonce song, but it is pure facts. It’s time to break the rules and change the game ladies. Voice your opinion on the sport, do not feel ashamed to express your love for it. Because we are females, it does not mean that we should accept the dominance of men in a sport made to be enjoyed by all. The typical “alpha male” may belittle your opinion or overlook your judgment but do not let that discourage you. There are several ladies out there waiting to debate with you. On that note, having started an all female football podcast, feel free to tune in, join in with our debates using the #GoalDiggersPodcast. Unlock a new perspective to football and feel welcomed in doing so. Fuck the gender roles, fuck the rules ! As for the men, get back in the kitchen mate.

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