Response of Women Football Fans to ITV Analyst Eni Aluko's Statement on Safety in UK Stadiums

Female football fans have hit back at Eni Aluko after her shock claim that UK stadiums were ‘not safe for women’. 

The ITV pundit made the comments on Wednesday and said it was not safe ‘physically’ for female supporters who travelled to stadiums nor online and suggested the next generation of women may be deterred from getting involved in the game as a result.

Aluko has been in the headlines over the last few months after receiving a torrent of abuse from Joey Barton, who targeted her with vile sexist comments – claiming that she and fellow broadcaster Lucy Ward were the ‘Fred and Rose West of football commentary’. 

Aluko then savaged social media firms for allowing trolls to ‘vomit their hatred unchecked’ online and she was vocal again this week after making the surprising claim about stadiums. 

Eni Aluko shared her view that men’s football in this country is not a safe space for women

Female football fans have hit back at her comments. Pictured: Two woman supporting Arsenal during an away day at Aston Villa

Female football fans have hit back at her comments. Pictured: Two woman supporting Arsenal during an away day at Aston Villa 

But female fans have taken issue with her comments with many stressing they have never felt unsafe in a football ground – as they hit out at her ‘damaging’ comments.

‘Aluko does not speak for me or my family of women who have attended games for decades. I’ve been home, away and euro away days and NEVER felt unsafe,’ one supporter said. ‘As if we don’t get accused enough about not knowing the sport a lot of us women love. Now we have this idiot making us look worse.’

Another wrote: ‘I’ve had some of the most magical and memorable experiences in football stadiums watching men’s football. I appreciate everyone’s experience is different and things could be better but trust me, these views are not shared by all female football fans, including myself. 

One added: ‘Not once have I ever felt unsafe at a football match just because I’m a woman. Outnumbered? Yeah of course but never felt out of place, since the age of five I’ve been brought up at the match so never ever have I felt unsafe. Not saying that’s the same for everyone…’

A fourth fan said: ‘I am in no way discrediting the experience of other women, and I feel for anyone who agrees with this statement. But as a woman who has been attending football matches, home, away and in Europe, since the early 2000’s, such a blanket statement is quite frankly damaging.’  

Aluko’s initial comments turned heads when she said UK football stadiums were ‘not a safe space’ for women and also took aim at the ‘casual racism, sexism and misogyny’ towards women at the top. 

‘I say it all the time,’ Aluko began on The Sports Agents podcast. ‘Men’s football in this country is still not a safe place for women. 

‘Whether you’re the wife of an average football fan who loves football or you’re me who works in professional broadcasting, it’s not a safe space. It’s not a safe space physically going to a stadium and it’s not a safe space on online. 

Aluko has been vocal about misogyny in football after being targeted for abuse by Joey Barton

Aluko has been vocal about misogyny in football after being targeted for abuse by Joey Barton 

Lucy Ward was targeted alongside Aluko by Barton in January

Broadcaster Alex Scott has also been attacked by Barton on social media

Broadcasters Lucy Ward (left) and Alex Scott (right) have also been attacked by Barton on social media

‘So when we look at the next generation of young girls who are alive to football because of the Lionesses and who likely want to get into football, whether they play or work behind the scenes.

‘What would make them want to do that when there’s daily casual racism, sexism, misogyny toward the women at the top.

‘I just refuse to now to sit back and go “Oh, it’s part of the job,” I can’t do that anymore. For me, I’m talking to government, how are we going to create laws so that this is not so easy.’

She has been enraged by the continued verbal attacks of Barton, who has also targeted pundit Alex Scott and England keeper Mary Earps. 

‘This is a societal issue where we have a platform [X] that is allowing people to vomit their hatred unchecked,’ Aluko told the BBC in February.

‘And then on top of that, I think there is an intention to monetise and incite more hatred to promote a podcast.’

Aluko has been open with feeling frightened following Barton’s vile attacks, saying in January: ‘I’ve genuinely been scared this week. I didn’t leave my house until Friday and I’m now abroad. Because it’s really important to say that online abuse has a direct impact on your safety and how you feel and how safe you feel in real life.’ 

Barton has posted legal letters from the lawyers of Aluko, who sued him for causing ‘extreme upset and distress’.

In a post that has since been deleted, Barton wrote: ‘Another day. Another letter from Samuel’s Solicitors. Eni Aluko now joining Jeremy Vine and suing me for saying she’s not very good at her job.

‘Interesting that they both are using the same solicitors. What kind of legal firm sends you Instagram messages? Jokers’.

Aluko said she was 'genuinely scared' after Barton made bizarre claims about her family

Aluko said she was ‘genuinely scared’ after Barton made bizarre claims about her family

At the start of January, he took aim at Aluko and Ward, an ex-footballer turned commentator, over their coverage of the FA Cup third-round clash between Crystal Palace and Everton for ITV.

Addressing Aluko, he wrote on X: ‘How is she even talking about Men’s football. She can’t even kick a ball properly. Your coverage of the game EFC last night, took it to a new low. Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward, the Fred and Rose West of football commentary.’

He previously boasted that he would score ‘100 out of 100 penalties’ against Mary Earps after she won the Sports Personality of the Year Award in December.

Barton also called it ‘dangerous’ for women to work at men’s clubs due to them ‘having full-blown affairs and costing people marriages’.

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