Eni Aluko talks about backlash against women’s football

Eni Aluko says negative comments are being ‘turned off’ more and more (Photo: REX/Getty/PA)

Insults from ‘insecure’ trolls will eventually be silenced as women’s football becomes more popular.

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

The broadcaster observed the development of the sport both on the field and in the experts’ box.

But with increased visibility, the chance for online abuse for those involved increases.

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

Since then, limiting your social media usage has been a difficult balancing act that took years to perfect.

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

Eni told Metro.co.uk: ‘A lot of these people are deeply insecure so I think when you realize that it’s important not to give them energy.

Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Eni Aluko also spent time as Angel City FC’s first sporting director (Photo: Getty Images)
The former player, now a commentator, played as a striker for the Lionesses (Photo: AP)

“I think we have to reach a point where we rise above these things and close off the opportunity for these people to spread hate and their misogyny. But now, it’s not something I go too long without looking at or paying attention to.

‘This has been a journey for me.

‘The Lionesses’ Euro victory was a huge help, people are criticizing those who make these kinds of comments.

‘They [the online trolls] they are becoming a minority over time and respect for women’s football grows.’

Lioness Squad by Sarina Wiegman are gearing up for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with the Ireland Women’s National Team also coming up.

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

England have not lost a game since Sarina Wiegman took charge (Photo: PA)
The Lionesses were champions in the recent Arnold Clark Cup (Photo: PA)

But elsewhere, there are struggles to make the game more equitable.

In Canada, the players are in the midst of a labor dispute with their federation, Canada Soccer, following reports of funding cuts and pay equity issues.

And in France, head coach Corinne Diacre was fired after players left the team in protest for better conditions.

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

“We’ve seen so many infighting between federations and players about things like contracts and money and maternity rights and things that should be guaranteed in 2023.

A Chelsea fan waves a ‘Let Girls Play’ flag at Selhurst Park on March 5 (Photo: Getty Images)
Lauren James has been described as England’s next star (Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

‘Canada is the reigning Olympic champions, so having their budgets cut doesn’t make any sense.

‘I think women in sport have always been an easy target, we have to make sure there’s fairness and justice.’

As the game grows, Eni also highlighted the need for improvements to be made ‘from a female-specific lens’.

There have been calls for more research into impact periods, ACL injuries and even kit design on players.

Eni added: ‘Where the game is commercialized quickly, a lot of the science around the game is still very much male-driven science, so there’s this assumption that the same science can be applied.

The women’s football awards will celebrate all levels of the sport (Photo: alessiarusso99/Instagram)
Categories include Player of the Year and Grassroots Initiative of the Year (Photo: Pedro Soares/SPP/Shutterstock)

‘The reality is that we are completely different types of human beings with different organs, different body types and different hormones.’

In May, the former player should host the Women’s Football Awardssupported by Sportsmail, to celebrate those who have contributed to the growth of the game.

She will be joined by Sky Sports presenter Jamie Carragher on stage, with leading figures from women’s football, men’s football allies and celebrities in attendance.

It will pay tribute to grassroots greatness as well as national and international superstars in women’s football.

Eni said: ‘This is the first award I’m aware of that really sets out to celebrate all levels of the game – from the bottom to the top.

Manchester City's Bunny Shaw has become the female player with the most goals in a single season (Photo: Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Manchester City’s Bunny Shaw has become the female player with the most goals in a single season (Photo: Ashley Allen – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
Eni says the women’s game ‘needs to value female players and put them first’ (Photo: Dan Weir / MatchDay Images Limited)

‘I think this is very important. There are so many people who have committed to this growth that they are not always recognized. Without them, the game wouldn’t be where it is.

‘When I was asked to present the awards, one of the things that really caught my attention, the intention to highlight those kinds of people as well as the players and officials.

‘I think it’s really an admirable part of the awards and I’m really happy to be a part of it.’

Award categories will include Player of the Year, International Footballer of the Year, Club of the Year, Grassroots Initiative of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, as well as a host of awards for people and brands working behind the scenes to expand women’s reach. soccer.

The event it was supported by England internationals Beth Mead, Jess Carter, Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan.

Jamie Carragher, co-host of Eni, said: ‘In recent years the growth of women’s football has been phenomenal.

The Lionesses’ European Championship triumph made fans all over the world fall in love with women’s football.

‘The time has come for those involved to get the recognition they deserve and that’s why the Women’s Football Awards are so important.’

The 2023 Women’s Football Awards, supported by SHEIN, will take place on Thursday, May 25.

The public can nominate now at www.womensfootballawards.com


READ MORE: What 2022’s record viewership for women’s sports means for the future

READ MORE: Lionesses star calls for more pubs to showcase women’s football

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