Local Heart, Global Soul

June 9, 2019

FIFAWWC: When BBC Commentators SERIOUSLY Dropped The Ball…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m just popping an extra (unrelated) post in between my Sand Sculpture Exhibition series. Two days ago on the evening of Friday 7th June 2019, saw the kick-off of the FIFA WWC (Women’s World Cup) in the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France. Whilst there have already been six other Women’s World Cups, this is the first one I have really been aware of.

According to the Dutch commentators, viewing figures for previous Cups were in the hundreds of thousands, but viewing figures for this one is expected to be just over one billion spectators around the world. Whilst this is still not in the same league as the mens game that captured some 3 billion viewers but it’s a HUGE leap in the right direction and my dream now is to see both World Cups held together, simultaneously.

After all, if we can have one month of crazy football that everyone loves, why not two? We don’t have a separate Men’s and Women’s Olympics after all.

One of the biggest contributors to these viewing figures is that even in football crazy Netherlands, this is the first time not just the final, but ALL of the games will be broadcast on a major TV channels. There are 24 countries taking part, divided into groups of four (by random draw back in December 2018) and this is called the Pool stage of the event.

Each teams takes a turn at playing each of the other teams in their group, their total scores of games won and goals scored determining if they move on to the elimination rounds. The elimination round is where entire countries bite their nails as they watch their teams play these knock-out games.

This televisation of all of the games on a major TV channel is a major step forward not just for womens football but for all female athletes around the world, as they try and bridge the gap between men and women players especially in professional levels. There is still a massive discrepancy in prize money, sponsorship and TV coverage in general, but this at least is an excellent first step.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was also delighted to see none of the “dramatics” of the mens game where players feign falls from non-tackles in an attempt to gain penalty shots or unfair advantage.

There was no aggression on the pitch, no red or yellow cards given out, an example many of the Mens teams could learn from.

Best of all were the marked increase in women in the stands and not only that, but seeing so many little girls with them, cheering their heroes on the pitch. So, therefore on the pitch at least everything is exceeding my expectations.

I was listening to the Dutch commentary but wanted to try and get some information about the New Zealand team (or even an alternative view of the Dutch one from a non-Dutch country) so switched to the BBC1 coverage halfway through the second half.

I didn’t get the commentators names but “Johnathan”, Alex” and “Sue” were mentioned, Surnames I also don’t know, or the players names (yet!) so apologies for that in advance.

The BBC1 commentary soon however had me spitting sparks, so much so that I immediately wrote what they said as best I could into my phone so that I could transfer it here later as accurately as possible.

The scenario was as follows: The FIFA WWC Opening match, France are playing South Korea and the score was 3-0 to France (at that point). France have dominated the game, the Koren players often getting possession of the ball but not able to keep it for long enough to make any attack on the French goal.

One of the Korean players gets the ball and proceeds a fair way down the pitch, she then looses the ball to a French player and the male commentator said: “Korean player (name) lost possession of the ball, she was doing so well, so she must be heartbroken”…. and a short while later the female commentator said: “player (name) was so brave getting right up to the box” (btw: the box is a square area directly in front of the goal).

I have watched countless mens football matches and NEVER have I ever heard the words “heartbroken” and ‘brave” used by commentators. Worse still it was also mentioned that one of the French players was less involved in play than expected before the match, the remark then followed that “she had cried during the singing of the French national anthem and so was probably quite emotional” THIS  given as a possible reason for her lesser involvement. Seriously?

Excuse me, but I have seem plenty of tears during the playing of national anthem for men… it’s a stirring moment, when your National Anthem plays, the full realisation probably kicks in, feeling both the pressure and pride in playing for their country and knowing the game is being televised to billions. I see NO shame for tears during a National Anthem, be they mens or womens.

But why are the commentators using words during the game that appear to make female players less than their male counterparts? Why are emotional words being used for the women and why are we aren’t getting the same sort of commentary that I expect to hear during a mens match? Shame on you BBC1. The Dutch commentator managed quite easily to talk all about the game and players without using these “soft” words and making it personal. Those players on the pitch are professional athletes, not sporting lightweights, they are tough, young and playing the game at full strength, just like any young man does.

The BBC commentators choice of words are in my humble opinion belittling these fine athletes, effectively forcing one step backwards, for the two steps forwards for all of womens sport that is taking place on the pitch.

Rant over.

Wikipedia / FIFA / Women’s World Cup / France / 2019


  1. Fantastic observations! Reminds me of Trump throwing paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rica–Mostly undetected put downs. (I’m doing a little catch-up with reading postings).

    Comment by Nan Mykel — June 14, 2019 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

    • Nan, I missed the Trump paper towel throwing incident… but nothing surprises me with that man to be honest. Sports commentaries that also feature former players should be more aware of their words… especially since the women’s game is only just gaining traction when it comes to supporters etc. If they want people to take them seriously, then they have to be more serious and less flippant and derogatory about the players.

      Comment by kiwidutch — June 15, 2019 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

      • I find info on jilldennison’s blog and for the very latest on charter schools it’s dianeravitch. Melanie Nathan gives info on LGBT. I wonder why men are so threatened by women. Fear of castration?

        Comment by Nan Mykel — June 16, 2019 @ 1:25 am | Reply

        • Nan,
          It makes you really wonder why men are sometimes so threatened, surely we should should compliment each other rather than try to compete with one another.
          In an ideal world there should not be fear between the two sexes, we would help each other more. Sadly egos on both sides ruin things.

          Comment by kiwidutch — June 16, 2019 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

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