Scottish Football Writers’ Association sorry as attendees walk out over ‘sexist and racist jokes’

Eilidh Barbour said that the event had made her feel 'unwelcome.' Credit: PA

A body representing football writers in Scotland has apologised after “sexist and racist" remarks were made by a speaker during an after-dinner speech at its annual awards dinner on Sunday.

The Scottish Football Writers’ Association (SFWA) has issued an apology and said it will review the format of its annual awards in Glasgow after the comments prompted some guests to walk out in protest.

The sports broadcaster Eilidh Barbour, who works as a presenter for both BBC Sport and Sky Sports, was among the attendees at the event, which also saw Sir Alex Ferguson receive a lifetime achievement award.

“Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards," she tweeted.

"A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place.”

This post was shared by Gabriella Bennett, the co-chair of Women in Journalism Scotland, who said she walked out after about five minutes of the speech, which is thought to have lasted around 20 minutes.

It has not been confirmed what exactly was said but Ms Bennet said the speech, by a "keynote speaker", contained "sexist and racist jokes".

“I really enjoy it as an event, but there are always off-colour jokes made by the speakers … sexist or misogynistic. But last night’s speech was really next-level," she told BBC Radio Scotland.

Ms Bennett, who said she is no longer surprised at such "offensive remarks", went on to note that only two tables in an "enormous room" stood up to leave.

"It’s really damaging for women trying to be respected. It allows men to speak to women in a certain way in a professional situation," she added.

Amid the fallout, the SFWA issued a statement on Monday, saying: "The Scottish Football Writers' Association apologises to anyone offended or upset by material from one of our after-dinner speakers at last night's annual awards dinner.

"We have agreed unanimously that this will act as a catalyst to review and improve the format of our future events to make it an enjoyable and inspirational event for all."

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