BBC sports commentator Jacqui Oatley has revealed how her seven-year-old daughter was “told to play Hula Hoops” instead of football because the boys “wouldn’t pass to girls”.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the seasoned broadcaster described how she had first dropped off her four-year-old son to football before taking her elder child to another class at the same centre.
But when she arrived to pick her up from the hour-long class, she was told: “Oh, we never got to play”.
“The boys wouldn’t pass to us so the coach told us to go over there and play with the Hula Hoops,” her daughter told her.
Ms Oatley, who made her name as the first female football commentator in England, immediately lodged a complaint with the manager.
“You’re kidding,” she told presenters. “Luckily I was still in the club so I complained straight to the manager, they said it would never happen again.”
The boys wouldn’t pass to us so the coach told us to go over there and play with the Hula Hoops
Jacqui Oatley, quoting her daughter
The furious mum earlier described the lack of integration as “ridiculous” in a fuming Twitter post.
“The coach was a young male… perhaps he hadn’t been trained in the skills of integrating the genders… but she didn’t even have a chance to play,” she told the panel.
In contrast, headteacher Chris McGovern provocatively described it as “absurd and dangerous” for boys and and girls to play together.
“Stop feeling sorry for the girls. Start feeling sorry for the boys,” he told the GMB panel.
“It’s the boys who are marginalised and downtrodden,” he continued, adding that boys don’t have “enough” male role models.
“You’re more likely to see a polar bear walk across the playground than a male teacher,” he said.
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Twitter users raced to support Ms Oatley, with Andy T writing: ” Keep your prejudices away and let them kids play”.
While Mike Coleman added: “If you want teach equality then give everyone an equal chance from the start. It’s not rocket science is it.”
Women’s football has gained increasing prominence in recent years, with the Women’s Super League transitioning to a full-time, professional status for the first time ever last year.
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