Lionesses welcomed home with 'sexist' FA tweet

The Twitter feed of the official @England national team account Image copyright Twitter / FA
Image caption The Twitter feed of the official @England national team account

A tweet from an account run by the Football Association was quickly deleted on Monday after immediately running into controversy - although the organisation behind England's national football team says the message was taken out of context.

It was meant to be a tribute, but ended up being criticised as "patronising" and "sexist." @England - the official feed of the England national football team, run by the FA - tweeted on Monday:

Image copyright FA / Twitter

The message was deleted soon after posting, but not before being captured and circulated on Twitter. Soon criticism was heaped on the organisation behind what a Washington Post reporter called an "appalling, sexist tweet."

"For those of you wondering what twitter would have looked like in the 50s, @england has helpfully obliged," tweets Lee Jenkins. Martin Belam comments: "Imagine the people signing off on that @england tweet and going 'Nope, no problem here. Can't see anyone thinking this is patronising.'"

"Maybe they go back to having actual jobs & lives which DON'T revolve around them being subservient to other people???" asks Josephine Liptrott.

The @England account has nearly 1.2 million followers, and had been mentioned about 1,000 times within an hour of the "mothers, partners and daughters" tweet being posted on Monday. Not all of those referenced the tweet - many were simply welcoming the Lionesses home after their third-place finish at the World Cup in Canada - but most of the top retweeted messages were discussing the controversy.

The FA defended itself on Monday, saying the tweet linked to an online article on the FA's website about the players being reunited with their families. The line about "mothers, partners and daughters" originally appeared in that story as well, but was later edited out.

"The full story was a wider homecoming feature attempting to reflect the many personal stories within the playing squad as has been told throughout the course of the tournament," says an FA spokesman. "However, we understand that an element of the story appears to have been taken out of context and the opening paragraph was subsequently revised to reflect that fact."

Blog by Mike Wendling

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