Sports

Ex-player Graeme Souness refuses to back down on ‘man’s game’ comment despite backlash


Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness says he has no regrets calling football a “man’s game” after Chelsea’s explosive Premier League clash with Tottenham despite an angry reaction to the comments his. Souness said he was delighted when referee Anthony Taylor allowed the players to mount a series of fierce contests in a violent 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte were both sent off following an angry exchange on the line of communication.

Souness, 69, a ball-handling midfielder who enjoys the physical nature of the London derby, said: “It’s a man’s game all of a sudden.

“I think we’ve got our football back, because I’m going to enjoy football, the men are there, blowing for the shots, and the referee lets them get on with it.”

But the former Liverpool and Scotland player’s views, reflected in his role as a television pundit, have provoked a backlash from current and former England female players.

The Lionesses’ historic Euro 2022 win last month boosted the popularity of the women’s game in the UK.

Eni Aluko, who went 102 past the Lionesses and Beth England, part of the Euro-winning team, both criticized Souness on social media.

The Chelsea striker called Souness’ comments “a shameful thing to say after the summer this country has just witnessed”.

Aluko, now sporting director of Angel City FC in the United States, wrote: “Graeme Souness talking about ‘one man’s game again’ sat next to England centre-back Karen Carney, two weeks after The Lionesses ended the 56-year wait and won the European Championship.”

However, Souness, asked by Talksport on Monday whether he regrets his comments, has not repented.

“Not a word about it,” he said. “For many years, I have supported the fact that referees play an important role in the success of the Premier League.

“We have to be careful with what we say today and I’m not very good at it, but we have become like other leagues.

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“My comments yesterday said we restored the game. It’s the kind of football I miss playing.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)

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