Eilidh Barbour: who is Scottish sports journalist & why did she walk out of Scottish Football Writers’ awards?

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The Scottish Football Writers’ Association (SFWA) has since apologised after awards dinner host, Bill Copeland was said to have made racist, sexist and homophobic comments.

A female Scottish football journalist has said she “felt so unwelcome” at the Scottish Football Writers Awards (SFWA) after the host allegedly told jokes that some in the audience found sexist, racist and homophobic .

“Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards,” said BBC sport brodcaster, Eilidh Barbour.

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“A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout#equalgame,” she added.

Who is Eilidh Barbour?

Born in Dunkeld, Pembrokshire in December 1982, Eilidh Barbour, got a job working for STV after she completed a media studies degree at the University of Sterling.

Barbour went on to present STV Rugy from 2011 to 2012 and then in 2014 she started working for the BBC.

In 2014 she was a pitchside reporter for FA Cup matches but was appointed host of The Women’s Football Show the following year.

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In 2017 she became the BBC’s face of golf when she took over from the popular Hazel Irvine.

Barbour has also featured on BBC flagship football highlights show, Match of the Day.

Who is Bill Copeland and what did he say?

Bill Copeland was the keynote speaker at the SWFAs and is alleged to made jokes that some found sexist, racist and homophobic .

Mr. Copeland is a former criminal lawyer and a popular after dinner speaker in Scotland.

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A full transcript of what Mr. Copeland is alleged to have said is not available however there are reports that one the remarks he made concerned Japanese footballers who currently play for Celtic.

BBC broadcaster Eilidh Barbour.BBC broadcaster Eilidh Barbour.
BBC broadcaster Eilidh Barbour. | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

What was the reaction?

Eilidh Barbour was not the only person at the event who was offended by what was said.

Women in Journalism Scotland co-chair Gabriella Bennett also walked out of the event.

“I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker,” said Ms. Bennett.

“My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did.”

What has the SFWA said?

The SFWA has issued an apology:

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“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.”

What have journalists and others had to say about what happened?

“I can’t believe I am reading all this in 2022,” exclaimed top sport presenter and journalist, Gabby Logan.

SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire, Amy Callaghan said: “Eilidh, you’re a trailblazer. Solidarity. Your voice matters. Now more than ever really.”

Fello BBC journalist, Isa Guha, said: “We support you Eilidh .”

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