Following an exciting and dramatic Woman’s World Cup – the first in history that was broadcast so widely across the BBC – the official England twitter account seem to have taken two steps back for sporting women’s rights.
Tweeting at the end of the competition, which the American team won after a 5-2 defeat against Japan last night, the FA twitter account has cause a social media furore, and has been called ‘patronising’ and ‘sexist’.
Posting earlier today, the FA said that now the competition was over, the players could return from Canada to their pre-World Cup roles as “mothers, partners and daughters”.
The tweet was hastily deleted, 45 minutes after it was posted to its 1.2 million followers.
The Twitter account, managed by FIFA, has been supporting the women’s team throughout the historic campaign, dispelling stereotypes surrounding female athletes, making huge gains for women’s football.
The competition has seen the Lionesses complete England’s most successful World Cup competition since 1966, bringing home a bronze medal. The team reached further in the competition than the men’s team have done for 49 years.
Many social media users have called the tweet an “own goal”, reacting in anger to the message sent by the FA, after all the women have achieved.
The FA has insisted the tweet was taken out of context. It was apparently taken from an article published on the FA website, which used the same comparison of the players, as “mothers, partners and daughters”.
“The full story was a wider homecoming feature attempting to reflect the many personal stories within the playing squad as has been told throughout the course of the tournament,” the FA said.
“However, we understand that an element of the story appears to have been taken out of context and the opening paragraph was subsequently revised to reflect that fact.”
The content editor at the FA, James Callow joined in with the debate on his personal Twitter, apologising for the words which he believes have been misconstrued.
Sorry if I caused offence. The piece is intended to sum up a nice moment when players are reunited with their families.— James Callow (@jamesrcallow) July 6, 2015
I reject any accusation of sexism and human interest is a big part of any sport reporting. Id have done the same for England me, absolutely.— James Callow (@jamesrcallow) July 6, 2015
The article has since been amended, to remove any mention of women’s perceived roles, but the author has rejected any form of sexism in his words - implied or otherwise.
Words: Harriet Hall
Images: Rex Features