Graeme Souness has defended describing football as a “man’s game” following Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Sky Sports pundit was discussing the physical nature of football and the performance of referee Anthony Taylor.
“Referees are letting a lot more go and it makes for a better watch,” Souness said. “We’ve all played the game, with simulation and people throwing themselves into the ground.
“It’s a man’s game all of a sudden again… I think we’ve got our football back, as I would enjoy football – men at it, blow for blow, and the referee letting them get on with it.”
While making the comments, Souness was sat alongside England legend Karen Carney, who won 144 caps for England.
The former Lioness seemed less than impressed by Souness’ words and appeared to roll her eyes in frustration.
Other female footballers, past and present, took to social media to voice their grievances over the remarks –– pointing out that England Women made history at Euro 2022 a matter of weeks ago.
“Get in the bin. What a disgraceful thing to say after the summer the country has just seen,” tweeted Chelsea striker Beth England.
Similarly, Carney’s ex-teammate Eni Aluko, wrote: “Awkward turtles, Graeme Souness talking about ‘it’s a man’s game again’ sat next to an England centurion Karen Carney, two weeks after the Lionesses end a 56-year wait and win European Championships. Come on. It’s not okay.”
“It’s a man’s game”— Bethany England (@Bethany_Eng15) August 14, 2022
“Men at it”
Get in the 🗑 what a disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen.
Souness’ comments came after a thrilling derby, which saw Spurs rescue a late point, courtesy of a Harry Kane header.
At the end of the match, managers Thomas Tuchel and Antonio were involved in a heated exchange that resulted in both being shown red cards.
Souness responds to criticism
The pundit appeared on Jim White and Simon Jordan’s TalkSport show on Monday to clarify his comments and chose to stand by his initial words.
“Let me explain,” he said. “I’ve been advocating for years that the referees have such a major part to play in the success of the Premier League.
“I said we had our game back, it’s the kind of football I remember playing in.”— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) August 15, 2022
“It was a throwback and I think our game will be better for it.”
Graeme Souness addresses his ‘man’s game’ comments on yesterday’s action. pic.twitter.com/hEMMB0tGOL
“We’ve got to be careful what we say today and I’ve not been very good at that, but we were becoming like other leagues.
“The refs were blowing the whistle all the time, the game didn’t flow and it just wasn’t a very good watch. Our game has always been unique, always been more meaty, more in our face, more intense and we’ve got away from that.
“Yesterday in my comments I said we’ve got our game back. That’s the kind of football I remember playing. Our league will be better for it – we are back.”