Clare Balding is a veteran when it comes to sports reporting.
From writing columns for the Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and Stylist, to presenting on sports shows and major events on the BBC and Channel 4, it’s fair to say she can do it all.
The 50-year-old has covered sports since 1994 and has had a thriving career in the field. With so much expertise, one may think Clare would cover anything sport-related.
However, there is one thing that the BBC veteran refuses to cover and it’s men’s football.
READ MORE: EastEnders’ Lucy Beale actor Melissa Suffield poses nude with baby for inspiring breastfeeding post
(Image: BBC/ Julia Fullerton-Batten)
The presenter has previously said men’s football matches can be toxic for female broadcasters due to the “vile abuse” that comes their way.
Clare, who has been presenting at the Olympic Tokyo Games, said in November 2020: “Any woman who pops up on a football programme offering expertise, or in the role of presenter, will be opening the door to such vile abuse on social media.”
Recalling a conversation she had with a producer when sports pundit and former Arsenal football player Alex Scott joined the BBC’s football coverage team, Clare said: “It was – ‘We have one woman, we can’t have two’.”
She continued: “You’re fighting another woman for that one chance.”
MyLondon’s brilliant new newsletter The 12 is packed with news, views, features and opinion from across the city.
Every day we’ll send you a free email at around 12pm with 12 stories to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets.
Never miss a moment by signing up to The 12 newsletter here.
Although in recent years we have seen more diversity and female lineups on broadcasters such as Sky Sports, BT Sport, and the BBC, it wasn’t always the case, and Clare spoke out.
Speaking to the Sunday Post in 2019, the broadcaster condemned the lack of women’s sports coverage.
“In broadcasting and in most newspapers it’s a really rare thing to see coverage of women’s sport,” she said.
“I think that is disrespectful. It also misses an opportunity to have an audience and readership who aren’t being provided for.“