Eilidh Barbour: Scottish football awards walk out explained

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Eilidh Barbour was one of many journalists who walked out of an alleged “sexist and racist” speech at the SWFA awards dinner.

Sky Sports’ Eilidh Barbour has recently spoken out against the Scottish Football Writers Association (SFWA) after their award ceremony allegedly contained “sexist and racist jokes”.

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The journalist took to Twitter to express her disgust at the comments, while several others joined her as they also took to the social media platform.

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The SFWA has since issued an apology after several prominent journalists walked out of the annual awards dinner, which took place on Sunday May 8, 2022.

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In a statement, the SFWA said: “The Scottish Football Writers’ Association apologizes to anyone offended or upset by material from one of our post-dinner speakers at the annual awards dinner last night.

“We unanimously agreed that this will serve as a catalyst to review and improve the format of our future events to make them a fun and inspiring event for all.”

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The comments are believed to have been made by former criminal defense attorney and awards keynote speaker Bill Copeland, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Who is Eilidh Barbour?

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Born in Perthshire, Scotland, Barbour is a Scottish television presenter and reporter. In the 2011/12 season she became the presenter of STV Rugby, occasionally presenting results and international highlights on BBC Scotland’s sports scene.

Barbour first came to national attention when she became a pitchside reporter during an episode of Final Score at a first round match of the FA Cup.

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She has been a regular reporter for Final Score since 2016 and in 2017 Barbour became the host of the Women’s Football Show.

Barbour was named to replace Hazel Irvine as the BBC’s lead golf news presenter.

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The 39-year-old University of Stirling graduate also joined the presenting team for Match of the Day 2 and was part of the BBC presenting team for the Women’s World Cup.

Eilidh Barbour, right, is the BBC’s main golf presenter

What did Eilidh Barbour say after the football awards?

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Barbour wrote on Twitter: “Never have I felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in as sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards. A great reminder that there is still so much work to be done to make our game an equal place #callitout #equal game.”

Barbour wasn’t the only person who spoke out against the “jokes” being made. Gabriella Bennett, co-chair of training and campaigning group Women in Journalism Scotland (WiJ), said: “I was at these awards tonight and heard the same sexist and racist jokes from a keynote speaker. My table was cleared at the same time as Eilidh’s.”

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Bennett, who is also a journalist for The Times, said on BBC Lunchtime Live: “It’s worth noting that the sort of conversation that took place at the Football Writers’ dinner last night doesn’t end in the dining room. It expands. It flows into the editorial offices – it’s a cultural thing.

“Last night was probably my sixth or seventh time attending that dinner – but there are always lewd jokes from the speakers and I use ‘broken’ as a descriptive word but what I mean is sexist or misogynistic. ”

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Who is Bill Copeland?

Bill Copeland was the keynote speaker at the SWFA Awards and is said to have made sexist, racist and homophobic comments during his speech at the awards dinner.

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Copeland is a former Scottish barrister who previously specialized in criminal defense before moving to conveyancing.

He has been a popular after-dinner speaker for many years. He was part of the Gordon Poole Agency, despite appearances his page on their website no longer exists.

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what is done

Following the SFWA’s apology, WiJ announced they will launch a campaign hoping to address “this issue of sexism and inequality in sports journalism.”

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KickitOut and Women in Football also released a joint statement on Twitter, which read, “Events that celebrate talent in our game should be an opportunity to focus on the positives and all the people who played their part in making it happen have to push football forward.

“…We expect better and demand better.

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“The fact that we were made aware by those in attendance that they did not feel welcome in an industry in which they work is unacceptable and we stand by them.

“We note the apology from the Scottish Football Writers’ Association and look forward to their promised review of future events. In the meantime, we will be in touch with all the details and offer our support to those affected.”

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