A football club in France is offering free tickets to women after sexist flags were unfurled at a men’s game.
The pair of banners – one depicting a woman above the word “kitchen” and the other showing a man with the word “stadium” – were displayed by supporters of Lille’s rivals, Lyon, at a match between the two sides on Saturday.
The signs were captured on TV cameras at Lyon’s Parc Olympique Lyonnais ground, prompting an outcry on social media.
In response to their rivals’ fans, Lille said that their next home match will be free for all women.
The team modified the female image seen on the misogynistic banners, replacing the word “cuisine” with “Stade Pierre Mauroy” – the name of their stadium in northern France, where they will play Lorient on Saturday.
“LOSC (Lille) welcomes women by proposing an exceptional offer: all places are free for women for LOSC-FC Lorient!” the club wrote on Twitter, adding that the offer was “valid within the limit of places available at this rate”.
While the sexist signs would have been unacceptable wherever they were displayed, they seemed particularly misplaced in Lyon, where the women’s team are consistently phenomenally successful.
Olympique Lyonnais Féminin is the highest-ranked club in the Europe-wide UEFA league, and has won the French Division 1 Féminine title 14 times.
Wendie Renard, the captain of Lyon’s women’s team, posted a photo of the banners on Twitter, saying: “Lyon supporters… can you give me an explanation for that banner? The men at the stadium, the women in the kitchen?”
Lyon’s president said that they would be investigating the incident. In a satisfyingly ironic twist, the men’s team ended up losing the match against Lille at which the banners were displayed.
Lille is not the first European football club to take a stand against anti-woman sentiment, both off and on the pitch. In October, Czech footballers Tomas Koubek and Lukas Vacha were ordered to train with the women’s team after they insulted a female referee by saying that “women belong at the stove” and “should not officiate men’s football”.
Their chief executive at Sparta Prague, Adam Kotalik, said: “The players will spend several days with the club’s female side so they can see women have plenty of worth outside of the kitchen.”
Images: Canal+, Rex Features