Sky Sports visit for Hitchin 10-year-old who complained about women’s football coverage
A 10-year-old Hitchin girl who complained to Sky Sports about their women’s football coverage has been rewarded with a visit to their news studio.
Laila Akram, who plays for Hitchin Belles FC, was incensed when she failed to find coverage of the Women’s FA Cup final on the Sky Sports app – and wrote to the network’s digital director Dave Gibbs to complain.
Laila, a member of Arsenal’s player development programme, wrote: “When it was the Women’s FA Cup final it was not reported on Sky Sports app. I thought this was outrageous. Women can play football just as well as men, and when we looked on the BBC website it was the first thing we saw. Why did you not mention the match or at least the score on your app?”
She added that Hitchin Belles had “proved that girls and women can play just as well as men”.
Mr Gibbs sent a detailed reply showing how Sky had covered the Women’s FA Cup final and other female sport, and inviting Laila in to see the filming of Sky Sports News’ SportsWomen show.
During her visit to the west London studio, the 10-year-old met presenter Jane Dougall, former England rugby captain Catherine Spencer and current hockey international Samantha Quek, as well as Sky Sports’ digital content editor Jamie Hunt.
Mr Gibbs’ reply included links to the Sky Sports report on the Women’s FA Cup final – a 4-1 win for Manchester City Women over Birmingham City Ladies – and three other women’s football stories.
He wrote: “Sky Sports News gives a lot of air time to women’s sport – especially football too.
“We’re big fans of women’s football here at Sky Sports; we’re champions of women’s sport in general.
“It’s great that you have such strong views about this issue. You are not alone.”
He pledged to speak to editors to ensure she would be able to find the top women’s football news in future.
Laila told the Comet that the visit had helped to allay her concerns about the coverage of women’s sport, but that there was still a way to go.
She said: “I still feel the need to help promote women’s football and sport even more – but Sky Sports have helped a lot so far.”