Campaign group Women in Football has applauded ITV for the broadcaster’s criticism of Joey Barton – and called on employers in the football industry to stand by their female employees in “the current epidemic of misogynistic abuse”.
Former Manchester City midfielder Barton described ITV pundits Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward as “the Fred and Rose West of football commentary” on X, formerly Twitter, following the channel’s coverage of Crystal Palace’s FA Cup draw with Everton on Thursday.
ITV Sport said in a statement on X: “For Joey Barton, an ex-professional player with a significant social media presence, to target two of our pundits, Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward, with such vindictive remarks based on gender and to invoke the names of serial killers in doing so is clearly contemptible and shameful on his part. Football is for everyone.”
A statement from #WomeninFootball. pic.twitter.com/CdXVLN8CBL
— Women in Football (@WomeninFootball) January 5, 2024
Responding to ITV’s emphatic criticism of Barton, Women in Football released its own statement.
It read: “Women in Football applauds the powerful statement made by ITV Sport against the vile slurs directed at Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward on social media.
“We call on all employers in the football industry to show the same support for their female employees, and take all possible measures to ensure their well-being in the current epidemic of misogynistic abuse.
“As the leading agency driving gender equality in football we stand with all those who suffer such abuse.
A message from ITV Sport. pic.twitter.com/6To8BkNWc1
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) January 5, 2024
“We urge all those across the industry who are on the side of progress, fairness and decency to join Women in Football for free and be part of our far-reaching network of support.”
Barton, 41, was sacked by Bristol Rovers last year, having previously managed Fleetwood, following a playing career which also took in Newcastle, Rangers, Marseille, QPR and Burnley.
Aluko played more than 100 times for England and represented Team GB at the London Olympics, while Ward is a former Leeds and Doncaster player.