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18th Apr 2022

Kenny Shiels apologises for comments about ’emotional’ women footballers

Katy Brennan

“Girls and women are more emotional than men.”

Northern Ireland Women’s manager Kenny Shiels has come under fire for claiming emotions can interfere in women’s football.

His comments were made following his team’s loss to England last week.

He said: “In the women’s game, I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you’re aware… When a team concedes a goal they concede a second one in a very short period of time right through the whole spectrum of the women’s game, because girls and women are more emotional than men.

“So a goal going in, they don’t take that very well.”

He went on to say that emotions weren’t just an issue for his team but in the sport as a whole, and “all countries” have the same “problem”.

He then concluded by saying: “I shouldn’t have told you that.”

Naturally, many women football players and supporters were left furious after Shiels’ comments.

Former Ireland captain Emma Byrne called the post-match commentary “ridiculous”.

“I’d be surprised if he is the manager for the next game to be honest,” she told Off The Ball. “You can’t discriminate like that, it’s the one thing you don’t need in women’s football.”

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill also criticised his views, saying: “Some accuse women of being too emotional for all walks of life: politics, business, sports.

“If powerful emotions of passion, hard work, resilience and determination to succeed are what’s being referred to her then keep being class women.”

Meanwhile, former England Women’s goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain described his words as “bizarre”.

Now, Shiels has issued an apology via the Irish Football Association.

“I wish to apologise for my comments made in the post-match press conference last night,” the statement read. “I am sorry for the offence that they have caused. Last night was a special occasion for the women’s game in Northern Ireland and I am proud to manage a group of players who are role models for so many girls, and boys, across the country.

“I am an advocate for the women’s game and passionate about developing opportunities for women and girls to flourish.”