FOOTBALL: Gabby Logan to examine sexism in football for new BBC documentary

Sports presenter Gabby Logan is to explore the subject of sexism in football in a new one-off documentary to be shown on BBC One this Wednesday.

The BBC presenter will hear stories from some of the most influential female figures within men’s game, and examines just how far-reaching gender discrimination can be in the sport.

She will look at the attitudes that several prominent women within the sport have encountered on their way to the top, and finds out what it is really like to be a woman working in a male-orientated environment.

There will be interviews with current West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady, who became the first female managing director of a Football League club at just 23 years of age, and UEFA executive committee member Karen Espelund, who is considered by many to be the most powerful woman in world football today.

The programme will feature contributions from BBC football commentator Jacqui Oatley, who rose through the ranks to become the first female commentator on Match of the Day in April 2007.

Jacqui Oatley’s MOTD debut (April 2007)
Pictures: BBC Sport

Oatley’s debut on the iconic BBC programme (above) attracted huge publicity before and after it went to air.

Despite receiving mixed reviews at the time, she is seen by many as a pioneer for women in the traditionally male-dominated world of live football commentary.

Other contributions come from Heather Rabbatts, who became the first woman to be appointed as a director on the board of the Football Association in December 2011, and former players including Robbie Savage and Lawrie Sanchez.

As the first high-profile female football presenter on UK television, Logan is well qualified to talk about the subject of sexism in the sporting arena, having risen to prominance during a time when there were only a handful of high-profile female sports presenters on TV.

She first appeared on Sky Sports in 1996, where she co-hosted Sky Sports Centre as well as football highlights programmes.

But Logan’s break into mainstream television came in 1998 when she was signed by ITV Sport.

She went on to front the revamped On The Ball magazine show, and had a prominent role in ITV’s football output for eight years, including The Premiership, UEFA Champions League and World Cup coverage.

Gabby working pitchside with Roy Hodgson for the BBC at the 2010 World Cup (Pic: Reuters)

Following the retirement of Des Lynam after Euro 2004, Logan was promoted and become the main anchor of ITV’s live football coverage, as well as other events including the Super Bowl and the Boat Race.

But she was demoted to a supporting role for the 2006 World Cup after being replaced by Steve Rider.

“I interviewed David Beckham but I didn’t see a single game. It dented my confidence and made me question my abilities. If you’ve got ambition and you want to do well, it’s obviously disappointing,” she told the Daily Mail.

In subsequent interviews she claimed that she didn’t see eye-to-eye with the then ITV head of sport Mark Sharman, who reportedly dropped Logan from the main anchor role following the bad press she received after presenting the 2006 Champions League final.

Following her fall from favour at ITV, Logan switched to the BBC in 2007, where she has fronted numerous sports programmes, including Inside Sport, Match of the Day, Six Nations, and the Olympics, becoming one of the corporation’s most high profile presenting personalities.

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Sexism in Football?

Wednesday 4th April – BBC One – 10.45pm-11.35pm

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