Hayes’ passionate response to ‘misogynistic’ comments

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has hit out in response to former England international Joey Barton’s comments criticising female football pundits, claiming women have become “used to dealing with systemic misogyny and bullying” in the sport.

In a post made on X on Wednesday, Barton said female voices were unfit to commentate or analyse men’s football.

“Women shouldn’t be talking with any kind of authority in the men’s game,” he wrote.

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“It’s a completely different game.

“If you don’t accept that. We will always see things differently.

“The women’s game is thriving. Fantastic to see.

“I cannot take a thing they say seriously in the men’s arena.”

Speaking on Friday ahead of Chelsea’s Women’s Super League match against Arsenal, Hayes, who did not directly name Barton, delivered a commanding monologue about women’s experiences of working in football’s patriarchal culture.

“The realities are male privilege has always been at the centre of football in this country,” she told media.

“So, I don’t expect any individual personality to understand their privilege.

“Nonetheless you only have to see scores of women across the internet or in the business — whether you’re a coach, presenter or player — we’re routinely used to dealing with systemic misogyny, bullying and behaviour that has been pretty normal for a large part of the football public.”

Hayes will depart Chelsea at the end of the season after she was appointed as the new head coach of the United States women’s national team last month.

In her 12 years at the helm of the Blues, the 47-year-old has guided the team to six WSL titles and five Women’s FA Cups.

Amongst her other achievements in the sport, Hayes also previously worked as a commentator across men’s and women’s football, including for the British television network ITV at the men’s Euros in 2021.

“If you haven’t experienced systemic misogyny like lots of us have, you can’t for one moment understand how detrimental some of these conversations are knowing that anything anyone says just enables an absolute pile on, particularly on social media,” she said.

“I feel that sport is the last place in society where that male privilege exists.

“When it comes to the sport of football in this case, we have to remember that society isn’t always as well represented across the media or the game in coaching or playing.”

Despite being heavily criticised by fans and people in the football and media industries, Barton continues to double down on his controversial opinion — even telling Piers Morgan’s show Piers Morgan Uncensored that including female commentators forms part of a “woke agenda”.

Hayes added she wanted to “accentuate the positive contributions” of women in sport while emphasising that women in other professions would not face the same level of scrutiny.

“We wouldn’t go into a hospital and have a female physician who’s carrying out a surgical procedure on someone’s kidney — we wouldn’t turn around and say to that surgeon, ‘I hope she’s a good patient because being a good patient means you’re going to be a good doctor’.

“It’s the same about being a great banker — does that mean you have to be a frugal spender to be a good banker?

“Much in the same way, do you have to be a well-travelled passenger to be a good pilot?”

Hayes acknowledged that the debate is “interesting” and should be had but could be “done better or in another way”.

Barton has since engaged with Hayes’ reply, calling on her to debate her point of view on his podcast.

“Emma is a fantastic voice. One of the very best in women’s football. Have enormous respect for her. Had a couple of conversations and was lucky to see her speak at Leaders in Sport,” he wrote on X on Saturday.

“She can come on the podcast hopefully and help us all further the discussion.

“Anyone, anytime and any place.”

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