Ex-footballer Jason Cundy faces backlash after calling Vicki Sparks - the BBC's first female World Cup commentator - 'a tough listen' and claiming women's voices are 'too high-pitched' for the role
- Jason Cundy claimed that he 'preferred' to listen to men while watching football
- Made his remarks on GMB and was branded a 'sexist pig' by Piers Morgan
- Vicki Sparks is the first woman to commentate on a World Cup game for the BBC
- Pundit said he didn't want to hear a woman's 'high pitched' voice for 90 minutes
- He has come under fire from footballer Fran Kirby and presenter Jacqui Oatley
A former footballer has come under fire after claiming women's voices are 'too high pitched' for match commentary.
Chelsea star Jason Cundy said he found the BBC's coverage of the World Cup clash between Morocco and Portugal - the first to be led by a woman - a 'tough listen' during a heated debate on GMB on Monday.
The 48-year-old pundit is now facing a backlash after footballer Fran Kirby claimed he was stuck in the 'dinosaur ages' while presenter Jacqui Oatley said it was 'frustrating' that female commentary were still being debated on national TV.
Vicki Sparks, 29, made history last week when she became the first woman to lead live coverage of a World Cup football match on British TV, keeping fans up to speed from Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
But Jason complained that he didn't enjoy listening to a woman commentating during a match, because their voices are too 'high-pitched'.
However presenter and reality TV star Lizzie Cundy, who was previously married to Jason and has spoken in the past about supporting women in football, said: 'l think women are just as capable and as good as any man to talk about football. We are no longer in the 70s and it’s time for the football world to move on and get rid of these dinosaur views.'
The heated debate began when Jason (second left) said GMB presenters he 'preferred' to listen to a man's voice during the football, calling Sparks too 'high-pitched'
The controversy comes after Vicki Sparks (pictured during last week's Portugal v Morocco match) made history as the first ever woman to commentate at the international tournament
Jason said he 'preferred' to hear a male voice during a game, and that 'moments of drama' called for a 'slightly lower voice'.
But GMB host Piers Morgan warned that Jason had picked the 'wrong battle', and branded him a 'sexist pig' for suggesting women couldn't do a good job of commentating on a match.
Discussing Sparks' World Cup debut last week, when she took to the mic for Portugal's clash with Morocco, Jason said he didn't enjoy her commentary.
‘I found it a tough listen if I'm honest,' he said. 'Personal preference, I would like to hear a male voice, for 90 minutes of football hearing a high-pitched tone is not really what I would like to hear.
'When there is a moment of drama as there often is in football, that moment needs to be done with a slightly lower voice, it's a personal preference.'
Piers hit back: 'I think some of the women have been better than the men and I have been very pleasantly surprised that this World Cup has a lot more female voices.'
Controversial: Ex-footballer Jason Cundy claimed that female football commentators voices are too 'high-pitched' during a discussion on GMB on Monday morning
Sports broadcaster Lyndsey Hooper (right) disagreed with Jason's views and said there should be more women for young girls to relate to
GMB host Piers Morgan said that Jason was being 'ridiculous' and branded him a 'sexist pig' over his comments
Turning to the former Chelsea footballer, he added: 'Actually my only criteria Jason, is not that they are male or female, [it] is, "do they know what they are talking about?"'
'Your annoyance appears to be that they have "too pitchy" voices, even though yours is pitchy, which seems to make you a sexist pig. How do you plead?'
Jason attempted to defend himself, saying: 'It's nothing to do with their insight, the way she delivers it, or her knowledge or her ability to do the job.
'It's the voice. For 90 minutes I would prefer to hear a male voice. I find it difficult to hear that voice.'
Co-host Susanna Reid was similarly unimpressed by Jason's opinion, pointing out that when his voice was compared in pitch to Sparks' it was actually in the same range.
Not impressed: Piers' fellow GMB co-host Susanna Reid (far left) was unimpressed by Jason's opinion, pointing out that when his voice was compared in pitch to Sparks' it was actually in the same range
During the show, Reid (far left) tried to draw the debate to a close remarking sarcastically: 'God forbid a woman could talk for ninety minutes it's something I can only dream of'
Sports broadcaster Lyndsey Hooper, joining Cundy on the ITV daytime show, was argued there should be more women allowed to commentate on sport, particularly the World Cup.
Lyndsey explained that young girls who were football fans now had 'someone to relate to'.
'There are so many people that loved what Vicki did and people that didn't, what's important is that we have a choice, we didn't have a choice before,' she added.
Susanna tried to draw the heated debate to a close, remarking: 'God forbid a woman could talk for ninety minutes it's something I can only dream of.'
Piers then fumed: 'In this gender equality battle, you've got to pick your fights, this is not a fight to pick.
'This is not a hill you want to die on, that women have annoying squeaky voices, when you yourself have an annoying squeaky voice.'
Outrage: Cundy's comments have sparked a backlash on Twitter, with presenter Jacqui Oatley and footballer Fran Kirby tweeting their disappointment
Cundy's comments have similarly sparked outrage on Twitter, with sports presenter Jacqui Oatley - the first woman to commentate on Match of the Day - blasting the ex-footballer.
She tweeted: 'Frustrating that this “female commentator” debate is still such an issue, 11 years after my first MotD game and 8 years after I did 7 live World Cup commentaries on 5 Live.
'Voice/ style preference is always subjective - to say it “shouldn’t be allowed” says more about the critic.'
Chelsea footballer Fran Kirby added: 'How about we just go back to the dinosaur ages to 1921 and ban women's football? Because clearly some people haven't evolved since then and still stuck in that time period.'
TV star Ms Cundy, who has two sons fathered by Jason, added: 'Football sadly still has a ‘macho man' attitude which must change. There are many great women involved In football today such as my friends Jacqueline Gold and Karren Brady and I hope we see more women involved in football.'
Earlier this week, BBC presenter Dan Walker praised the performance of Miss Sparks on her debut with the words: 'Well played Vicki Sparks. A little bit of history made.'
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV from 6am
Who is Vicki Sparks?
North East-born sports presenter Vicki Sparks, 29, made history this week as the first ever woman to commentate live on a World Cup game for British television.
A former broadcast assistant for Radio Newcastle, she led the BBC's coverage of the Portugal vs Morocco match on June 20.
Sparks is the first woman to commentate live on a World Cup game for British TV
Watching the match was former England captain John Terry, who told his Instagram followers that he was 'having to watch this game with no volume'.
Terry later deleted the post and returned to social media to clarify that it had nothing to do with Sparks, but was rather a genuine complaint over his lack of audio.
She joins Gary Lineker, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer on the BBC panel this month.
Sparks - who according to her Twitter profile loves 'God, sport and life' - has broadcasting experience with the BBC's Final Score and Radio 5 Live.
She has also covered international women's football fixtures, including the Euro 2017 qualifiers and The Women's Football Show.
Last year, Sunderland manager David Moyes was forced to apologise after making inappropriate comments to Sparks following an interview.
He said: 'It was getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.' Moyes was fined £30,000 by the FA.
Sparks was given her big break in sports commentary via a BBC initiative to find fresh talent for its FA Women's Super League.
Before landing the role of a lifetime, Sparks told the BBC: 'The ultimate dream would be to commentate on the Champions League final for 5 live. And see an English team win it!'
Most watched News videos
- Unmarked police bikes intercept pair of mopeds riding dangerously
- Shocking moment moped gang 'try to attack' mother and child
- PDSA advert warns of the dangers of dogs left trapped in hot cars
- Exclusive matchmaker Seventy Thirty: Dating for the wealthy
- Fatal crash on A47 in Cambridgeshire as HGV and bus collides
- MPs back Heathrow airport expansion 415 to 119 in tonight's vote
- Residential area near Saddleworth Moor deserted after evacuation
- Heterosexual couple win right to enter civil partnership
- Gang of women knock man down in ferocious attack at Leicester Square
- Moment female reporter dodges harassing football fan's kiss
- Love Island's Alex and Jack have hilarious discussion about crêpes
- Angry commuters jammed into St Albans station due to more delays
The comments below have not been moderated.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.