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ITV football expert Eni Aloko claims that stadiums in the UK are “not safe for women” and suggests there is “everyday racism, sexism and misogyny”.

ITV football expert Eni Aloko claims that stadiums in the UK are “not safe for women” and suggests there is “everyday racism, sexism and misogyny”.

Tom Balogun Village

10:11 17 April 2024, updated 14:59 17 April 2024

  • Aluko has been subjected to a torrent of abuse on social media in recent months
  • Many of the attacks came from former Manchester City star Joey Barton
  • “He has no excuse to dive!” Will Bukayo Saka learn from Bayern's stumble? listening to It all starts with a podcast

Eni Aloko presented a bleak picture of working in men's football, claiming that the game in this country is “not a safe place for women”.

The former Chelsea striker insisted there were safety concerns physically and on the pitch as well as on social media. She wondered what impact this would have on the next generation of girls who were now “alive in football” due to the Lionesses’ success.

Aluko suffered a torrent of abuse on social media, most notably from Joey Barton. The former Manchester City midfielder has made a number of sexist remarks against several former female players, pundits and commentators who have played a role in covering and analyzing men's football in recent months.

“I say that all the time,” Aluko began Sports Agent Podcast. “Men's football in this country is still not a safe place for women.

“Whether you're the wife of a casual football fan who loves football or you work in professional broadcasting, it's not a safe space. It's not a safe space to actually go to the stadium and it's not a safe space online.”

Eni Aloko shared her view that men's football in this country is not a safe space for women
The former Premier League footballer (above) called Aluko and commentator Lucy Ward the “Fred and Rose West of football commentary” after an FA Cup match on ITV
Lucy Ward was targeted alongside Aluko by Barton in January
Broadcaster Alex Scott was also attacked by Parton on social media

“So when we look at the next generation of young girls who love football because of the Lionesses and who are likely to want to play football, whether they are playing or working behind the scenes.

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“What would make them want to do that when there is everyday racism, sexism and misogyny towards women at the top.

“I just refuse now to sit down and say, ‘Oh, it's part of the job,' I can't do it anymore. For me, I'm talking to the government about how we can make laws so it's not so easy.”

In February, Aluko criticized social media company X, claiming the platform “allows people to vomit their hate unchecked” after he was verbally attacked by Parton.

Among his shocking rebukes included calling her and Lucy Ward the “Fred and Rose West football commentary” in reference to the two notorious serial killers – while Alex Scott and England goalkeeper Mary Earps were also targeted in his posts.

He also bizarrely claimed that Aluko and her family used “dodgy money” to pay for a lavish lifestyle.

After receiving support from ITV – with whom she regularly works as a pundit – Aluko revealed she had taken legal action against Barton, while also claiming she left the UK out of “genuine fear” for her safety following his comments.

“It's scary how easy it is to attack women on social media,” she added. “Misogyny is not even a hate crime at this moment in time, but there is a lot of it on the internet.

The Lionesses' success in recent years has inspired a new generation of girls to take up the game and has increased the profile of women's football in this county.
Barton had previously inaccurately claimed that the Aluko family were given “dodgy money”.
Aluko received support from ITV after Barton attacked her and Ward in January

“Unfortunately, football is kind of the access point for a lot of that. I think that's the last bastion of what people consider a male-only space.

For a long time it was a space where men were able to express themselves freely without the gaze of women and all that stuff.

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“The truth is that football has always been for everyone and now women are more part of it but I feel the backlash is getting worse.”