Eni Aluko on the backlash against women’s football

Eni Aluko says negative comments are getting “shut down” more and more (Image: 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 just “rise above it.”

The announcer has seen how the sport developed both from the field and from the experts’ box.

But with greater visibility comes a greater likelihood of online abuse for those involved.

Eni, who made 102 appearances for the Lionesses, was the first woman to appear as an expert in Match of the day in 2014.

Since then, limiting your use of social media has been a difficult balancing act that has taken years to perfect.

Speaking ahead of the Women’s Football Awards, the former Chelsea footballer described online trolls as “the bottom of the barrel”.

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

Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Eni Aluko also spent time as Angel City FC’s first sporting director (Image: Getty Images)
The former player, now an expert, played as a striker with the Leonas (Image: AP)

“I think we have to get to a point where we rise above these things and close the opportunity for these people to spread hate and misogyny. But, now, it’s not something you spend a lot of time not looking at or not paying attention to.

It has been a journey for me.

“That the Lionesses have won the Eurocopa has been a great help, people are criticizing those who make those kinds of comments.

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

The Lioness Squad by Sarina Wiegman they are preparing for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with the Ireland women’s team also making their way down.

England have not lost a game since Sarina Wiegman took over (Image: PA)

England have not lost a game since Sarina Wiegman took over (Image: PA)
Las Leonas were champions in the recent Arnold Clark Cup (Photo: PA)

But elsewhere, there are fights to make the game more equal.

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

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

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

“We’ve seen so many infighting between federations and players over things like contracts, money and maternity rights and things that should be taken for granted in 2023.

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

‘Canada are the defending Olympic champions, so having to cut their budgets doesn’t make any sense.

“I think women in sport have always been easy targets, we have to make sure that there is fairness and justice.”

As the game grows, Eni also highlighted the need for improvements ‘from a female-specific perspective’.

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

Eni added: “Where the game is commercialized quite quickly, a lot of the science around the game is still very much science geared towards men, so there’s an assumption that the same science can be applied.”

The Women’s Football Awards will celebrate all levels of the game (Image: alessiarusso99/Instagram)
Categories include Player of the Year and Grassroots Initiative of the Year (Image: 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 will host the Women’s Soccer 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, and leading personalities from the women’s game, male football allies and celebrities are expected to attend.

It will pay tribute to the greatness of the grassroots, as well as the national and international superstars of women’s soccer.

Eni said: ‘This is the first award I know of that really set out to celebrate all levels of the game, from base to finish.

Manchester City's Bunny Shaw became the highest scoring female player in a single season (Image: Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Manchester City’s Bunny Shaw became the highest scoring female player in a single season (Image: Ashley Allen – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)
Eni says women’s football “needs to value the players and put them first” (Image: Dan Weir/MatchDay Images Limited)

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

“When they asked me to host the awards, that was one of the things that really stood out to me, the intention to highlight those types of people, as well as the players and coaches.

“I think that’s really an admirable part of the awards and I’m delighted to be a part of that.”

Award categories will include Player of the Year, International Soccer Player of the Year, Club of the Year, Grassroots Initiative of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, as well as a series of accolades for individuals and brands working behind the scenes to expand reach. of the woman. football.

The event he has been endorsed by England internationals Beth Mead, Jess Carter, Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan.

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

The triumph of ‘Las Leonas’ in the European Championship made fans all over the world fall in love with women’s football.

“It’s about time the people involved got the recognition they deserve and that’s why the Women’s Soccer Awards are so important.”

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

The public can nominate now at www.womensfootballawards.com


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