In a recent article by BBC News, it was claimed that football chat should be cracked down upon in the workplace because women feel ‘left out’ with it being apparently a ‘gateway to laddish behaviour’. Well this is utter bullshit, and quite frankly ridiculous.
While it may be true that there is a percentage of women who don’t care about football, cricket, or rugby to name three sports, there is also a large percentage of women who do care, who follow their team, and what to discuss results, players, drama, and rumours to name a few. The same can also be said for men. Just because you are a man doesn’t automatically mean you follow sport, or in-particular football, hence not wanting to be involved in sport chat. In 2016, 33% of football fans in the UK were female (67% male), demonstrating that 1/3 of football fans in the UK are female, and probably want to be involved in football chats. Bearing in mind, football is just one sport.
To ‘moderate football chat’ to make people in the workplace feel more included is a load of nonsense. As a woman, but also as a football fan, I thoroughly enjoy football chats and from my workplace experience it doesn’t lead to ‘laddish behaviour’. Further, if you were to moderate football banter or sport banter in general, then you would have to moderate every type of banter.
You also can’t just stereotype that all women feel left out and excluded when men in the workplace are talking about sport. Never once have I felt excluded, maybe that is because I love sport, I keep up with football news and results, but I also take an interest in a range of sports. It also gives you something to talk about, and what harm is it to have a friendly debate about whether a player should move to a different team, or what football club in London is ‘the best’ – FYI West Ham fans get back in line because you are way, way behind Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal and are not part of that debate.
Let’s face it, you might as well work in silence (and you probably won’t be much more productive) if they want to moderate football / sport banter. You might as well moderate beauty, fashion and celeb gossip chat while we are on it, or would that be stereotypical?
I do get where people are coming from, because it can lead to exclusion, but so can a whole load of other subjects.
During the World Cup in 2018 there was only one major conversation that occured over June and July 2018 and that was England and the World Cup in my workplace, where there was only two men working there at the time, one of which couldn’t have cared less about football. In fact, to this day, I am the one who normally starts the football chat, but am I any less productive? No. Does it lead to laddish behaviour? No. Do I moan about Spurs? Yes, daily.
The point is, banning or moderating sport chat in the workplace is a load of nonsense, and the view seems to be somewhat old fashioned, being that women aren’t supposed to know about sport or have any interest. Well we do. The most annoying thing about this report is the person who suggested this was a woman. I find her comments sexist, and it’s not like you go to a football match and 100% of the crowd is male – the same for tennis, rugby, cricket – at Premier League and international level in the UK. Women attend sporting events. Women present and commentate on sport. Women are pundits in the sporting world. Women amazingly enough also take part in sport – I know, shock horror.
As a woman, and as a football fan, I want to be involved in football chat and have my voice listened too. Life would be pretty boring without sport banter (or any type of banter).
What are your views on this? Should football / sport chat be moderated in the workplace?