BBC hit with ‘racism’ complaints over comments on England’s all-white Lionesses

Eilidh Barbour, one of the BBC's football presenters, made comments about the diversity of England's Euros 2022 women’s team - Triangle News
Eilidh Barbour, one of the BBC’s football presenters, made comments about the diversity of England’s Euros 2022 women’s team – Triangle News

The BBC received hundreds of complaints over comments by one of its football presenters that the “all-white” line up of England’s Euros 2022 women’s team pointed to a lack of diversity.

Eilidh Barbour’s remarks resulted in the BBC receiving the most unsolicited complaints of any programme so far this month.

Discussing England’s 8-0 win against Norway, Ms Barbour, a TV broadcaster and former semi-professional with Partick Thistle FC, said: “It was an historic eight goal victory for England last night as the Lionesses secured their place in the quarter finals.

“But all starting 11 players and the five substitutes that came on to the pitch were all white. And that does point towards a lack of diversity in the women’s game in England.”

Her comments came during the half-time of Denmark v Finland, ahead of a segment by Alex Scott, the former England player, which focused on the diversity of the national team.

‘Skin colour should have nothing to do with it’

More than 220 viewers complained about the comments, with the BBC’s report saying that the main issue raised was that it was  “inappropriate or ‘racist’ to discuss diversity in sport”.

One female fan said on Twitter: “Skin colour should have nothing to do with it. The players who are the best on the team are the ones who are played but the woke Eilidh Barbour just couldn’t help herself and had to virtue signal ad nauseam!”

A Nottingham Forest fan called Matthew, who described Ms Barbour’s comments as “hypocritical”, wrote on Twitter: “Wow I’ve just seen what the BBC had to say after England Women’s Euros quarter final win this week – That the England team is too white!”

Ms Barbour later defended herself, tweeting that there needed to be a discussion over an apparent lack of diversity in the England women’s game.

She said:

The Women’s Euros 2022 episode drew 222 uninvited complaints, compared to 150 over the broadcasting of audible swearing by Wimbledon star Nick Kyrgios during a match on July 4.

The complaints over Ms Barbour’s comments were only exceeded by 460 over Panorama’s SAS Death Squads Exposed – which the BBC had invited people to complain about online.

The BBC declined to comment.

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