Former Premier League star Joe Cole has come under fire on social media for what some fans think sounded like possible sexism towards referee Stephanie Frappart this evening.
Cole, on punditry duty with BT Sport as two of his old clubs Chelsea and Liverpool contested the UEFA Super Cup final, seemed to hint that VAR would not want to overrule Frappart’s decisions tonight due to the weight of the occasion for her.
Numerous users on Twitter have quoted Cole as saying, with some slight variation, something along the lines of: “I don’t think VAR wanted to overrule her on such a big night for many reasons.”
This was the first time a female referee had taken charge of a men’s European game, in what is clearly a hugely positive step as the sport has so often been criticised for failing to move with the times in a number of ways.
That history-making feeling ?
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 14, 2019
Still, some people believe Cole perhaps showed some of that slightly old-fashioned attitude as he suggested there may have been some favouritism shown towards tonight’s match official.
While it’s unclear if that is precisely what the former England international meant, he could perhaps have chosen his words more carefully and his comments are being met with plenty of criticism on social media, with some reaction below…
Interesting brief chat in the TV studio…
Joe Cole: “They weren’t going to overrule it for different reasons.”
— Chris Carey ?? (@ChrisCarey1973) August 14, 2019
Joe Cole says VAR didn’t overrule the ref on the penalty decision “on a big night for different reasons maybe”. Feels like it’s pretty clear (and pretty gross) what he’s trying to imply there.
— kevin (@KevBeirne) August 14, 2019
Joe Cole about the Penalty: “they (VAR)wouldn’t want to overrule her (the ref) on such an important, momentous night”
That is so sexist Joe and @UEFA !!
SHE wouldn’t want to be treated like that!!
— Liverpool To My Core ?????? (@LFC_Belief) August 14, 2019
Joe Cole been a great pundit recently but suggesting there that VAR didn’t overrule the ref ‘cause they didn’t want to ‘ruin her big night’ is ridiculous.Don’t think it was a pen,but it wasn’t clear (when slowed down).VAR can only overrule a clear & obvious error-which it wasn’t.
— Jon Page (@jpagey_) August 14, 2019
Joe cole saying that VAR didn't overrule the ref because of the situation. literally just because she is a Woman???? what a sexist imbecile
— Jack Herbert (@jack_herbert1) August 14, 2019
Ridiculous from Joe Cole; Subconsciously pandering to some sort of 'reverse discrimination' BS – implying the decision wasn't overturned solely because she was a woman. I mean (irrespective of this being right or wrong) it's not as if male referees+VAR have never made mistakes. https://t.co/2eH9HTJQJX
— Amaan (@aq_) August 14, 2019
— LoKo (@lokouk) August 14, 2019