The “Best” of Premier League

Huy Bui

Ever since its establishment, The Premier League has always been among the top most exciting and powerful football leagues in the world, attracting millions of followers and a variety of different corporations to pump tremendous amount of money into it through commercials and advertisements. With strong capitalism, competitiveness and unpredictable games, the league becomes more challenging and more fascinating than ever, drawing massive attention from the media. All these factors, along with the media’s influence, contribute to the overall success of the league, projecting the league in its best image. The image of the league has grown to become more culturally significant with fans across England coming together in different jerseys, which paint vivid colors to the city. The league sure is a beautiful painting; however, the painting is darkened by the league’s many controversies over racism and sexism. Now, are these forms of discrimination new colors added to give the league some dramatic effects? Certainly not! Racism and sexism in football have always been there since the establishment of the league. Although the league does show some awareness of these forms of discrimination, but they have not made adequate effort in addressing them. In fact, racism and sexism start become a norm that defines the league with the fans being the main catalyst.

Racism and sexism come in as a result of tempers flaring from fans of rivalry teams. It is common in sport, especially in football where fans while cheering for their team often have a penchant for intensifying the atmosphere through direct verbal attack to either players or fans of the other team. One could say that, it is part of the game’s culture in which battle of rival fans become a fuel for the excitement of the match. Nevertheless, fans begin to express the so-called culture by blatantly saying racist and sexist chants toward most of the black players and female staffs from the league. Recently, Eva Cairneiro, a British female medical specialist of the well-known Chelsea football club, has been reported to suffer from sexist chants by fans of Manchester United. It is not the first time that Carneiro has encountered this incident because she twice experienced the verbal obscenity and harassment during her assistance of Chelsea’s games against Arsenal club and Manchester City club. Cairnero’s harassment happened not only because of her attractive appearance, but also her position as one of a few women in the first-team set-up of the Premier League. Anyone from the Chelsea club could have be subjected to the offensive chants rather than Cainerio; however, she was the fans’ “favorite” for being minor in a working’s environment of predominant male staffs. Despite reviewing the footage of the incident, The Football Association of England‘s board did not take any action about the incident as there seemed to be apathy among the board’s members. Indeed, the board already showed attempt to empower fans with the “Kick it out” campaign against racism in which serious punishment is applied to any fan who starts a racist chant so having to deal with another form of discrimination seems unnecessary. One assumption could be that it is just fans’ nature during heated moment so it is alright not to take into account every issue in the league. The apathy among the board’s members may feed into widespread attitude among fans – no fear because what is there to fear when little concern is shown by the board.


The “best” role model of the Premier League

While the case of Cainero’s harassment remains unaddressed, a new scandal involves sexism has emerges: The sex slur scandal by Richard Scudamore – The Premier League’s executive chief. English’s media is littered with Scudamore’s leaked sexist email in which he showed vulgarity and discrimination toward female. Although Scudamore recently publically apologized for his action, he still left a big disappointment in the public’s view. How can fans have hope for putting an end to sexism in the league where every individual should be respected for their qualification and contribution when sexism was shown by an authority whose mission is keep the image of the league with strong commitment in fighting for equality and increasing participation of women in football. Scudamore is highly angers the public more because he should be the role model with trustworthy words; however, they all now become a joke. What hope is left of the best soccer league in the world when their leader fails miserably in preserving the league’s image.


Repaint a better image of the league

As more and more women join the football industry, their professions are always being questioned and manipulated to show that they do not belong to the league or the game where only the predominant males from the clubs, the fans, and the FA will perceive this industry the best. When they are on the field, regardless of their backgrounds or positions, to the fans, their role hardly impacts the game, showing zero contribution in making it exciting. As rival fans taunt one to another, the females become the subjects of sexually offensive chants, which are often believed to add fascination to the game.

Another reason for sexism to exist and to be ignored is the fact that the issue of racism in the league has escalated, diverting media’s attention toward it. Now, there is no such thing as one issue should be addressed more significantly than another. They have been existing together, darkening the image of a top football league. As a definition of a best football league, it must show equality among people of different sexes. They give their best to fulfill their roles, building the success of the league. If one shows good qualification to be in the league, regardless of the roles, he or she is hired to have the league maintain its success. If the fans has the mission to channel their spirit into the players, so do other female staffs. For that reason, there should be mutual respects in and out of the league. A thorough plan and an immediate action should be taken to raise awareness about sexism which takes place in the league. The Premier League can view example of “Everyday sexism project” developed by Laura Bates who is a British feminist writer. Her goal of the project is to get the public’s attention on the extent to which sexist abuse and discrimination affect women in their everyday lives. By learning to see their struggles with sexist abuse, the league could start its own campaign so that the female staffs in the league will be treated with more respect, making the league better and better. If the league runs out of color to make its image vivid again, then asking other organizations to help shed some light on it.