Eni Aluko on ‘rising above’ the online backlash against women’s football

SUN 7AM: Broadcaster Eni Aluko on the long way to go for women's football

Eni Aluko says negative comments are being ‘shut down’ more and more (Picture: REX/Getty/PA)

The insults of ‘insecure’ trolls will eventually be silenced as women’s football grows more popular.

That’s the belief of former England star Eni Aluko. But until then, she says the best way to deal with online backlash is to simply ‘rise above it’.

The broadcaster has watched the sport develop from both the pitch and the pundits box.

But with increased visibility comes a higher chance of online abuse for those involved.

Eni, who made 102 appearances for the Lionesses, was the first woman to appear as a pundit on Match of the Day in 2014.

Since then, limiting her social media use has been a difficult balancing act that has taken years to perfect.

Speaking ahead of the Women’s Football Awards, the former Chelsea footballer described online trolls as the ‘bottom of the barrel’.

Eni told ‘A lot of those people are deeply insecure, so I think when you realise that, it’s important to not give them the energy.

Eni Aluko also spend time as the first Sporting Director for Angel City FC (Picture: Getty Images)

The former player, now pundit, played as a forward with the Lionesses (Picture: AP)

‘I think we’ve got to get to a point where we just rise above these things and shut down the opportunity for these people to spread hatred and their misogyny. But, now, it’s not something that I spend a lot of my time not looking at or paying attention to.

‘That’s been a journey for me.

‘The Lionesses winning the Euros has been a big help, people are calling out those who make those kind of comments.

‘They [the online trolls] are becoming more of a minority as time goes on and respect for the women’s game grows.’

Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses squad are gearing up for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with Ireland Women’s Team also making their way down under.

England have not lost a game since Sarina Wiegman took charge (Picture: PA)

The Lionesses were champions in the recent Arnold Clark Cup (Picture: PA)

But elsewhere, there are fights to make the game more equal.

In Canada, players are in the middle of a labour dispute with its federation, Canada Soccer, following reported funding cuts and pay equity issues.

And in France, head coach Corinne Diacre has been sacked after players quit the squad in protest for better conditions.

Eni said: ‘It’s important to recognise the women’s game needs to value the players and put them first.

‘We’ve seen so much infighting between federations and players on things like contracts, money and maternity rights and things that should just be a given in 2023.

A Chelsea fan waves a ‘Let Girls Play’ flag at Selhurst Park on March 5 (Picture: Getty Images)

Lauren James has been described as England’s next breakout star (Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

‘Canada are defending Olympic champions, so to have their …read more

Source:: Metro


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