A football awards ceremony which honoured Sir Alex Ferguson has been criticised for featuring a keynote speaker who allegedly made homophobic and racially...
A football awards ceremony which honoured Sir Alex Ferguson has been criticised for featuring a keynote speaker who allegedly made homophobic and racially insensitive comments.
The Scottish Football Writers’ Association was forced to apologise on Monday on behalf of Bill Copeland, whose comments met with a series of complaints on social media after the event.
Copeland, a professional after-dinner speaker, is alleged to have used racially insensitive language when referring to Celtic’s Asian footballers.
He is also alleged to have used language that was sexist and homophobic in nature.
Copeland has not responded to The Athletic’s request for comment.
BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour was among those to object to the remarks, tweeting: (I have) never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards.
“A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place.”
Gabriella Bennett, the co-chair of Women in Journalism Scotland, replied, adding: “I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker.
“My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did.”
In response, the SFWA said in a statement: “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.”
When contacted by The Athletic, the SFWA had no further comment to make.
The Women In Football network added in a statement: “We have been made aware of sexist, racist and homophobic remarks made at the Scottish Football Writers' Awards last night, during an after-dinner speech.
“Racism and homophobia continue to be a stain on the game, and we must continue to challenge it and eradicate it. There is no place for any form of discrimination, in sport or anywhere else.”
Ferguson was among the attendees at Sunday’s ceremony in Glasgow, where he was presented with the SFWA’s Lifetime Achievement award.Scottish football writers’ body sorry for offensive remarks at awards show - The Athletic View Story