Graeme Souness does not regret ‘a word’ of controversial ‘men’s game’ comments on Sky Sports

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Graeme Souness insists he does not regret his comments on Sky Sports  (Getty Images)
Graeme Souness insists he does not regret his comments on Sky Sports (Getty Images)

Graeme Souness insists he does not regret a word of his comments following Chelsea’s dramatic 2-2 with Tottenham on Sunday.

The Sky Sports pundit was criticised for suggesting the fiery scenes at Stamford Bridge “showed it was a man’s game all of a sudden” in reference to referee Anthony Taylor’s more liberal approach.

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Former England Women’s international Karen Carney was sat beside Souness on pundit duty in west London, with the former Liverpool captain then adding: “I think we’ve got our football back, as I would enjoy football … men at it, blow-for-blow, and the referee letting them get on with it.”

Chelsea and England forward Beth England wrote on Twitter: “What a disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen.”

Eni Aluko, meanwhile, tweeted: “Graeme Souness talking about ‘it’s a man’s game again’ sat next to an England centurion Karen Carney, two weeks after the Lionesses end a 56 year wait and win European Championships.

“Come on. It’s not okay.”

Asked by talkSPORT’s Jim White whether or not he regretted the comments following criticism, Souness said: “Not a word of it. Let me explain. I’ve been advocating for years that the referees have such a major part to play in the success of the Premier League.

“We’ve got to be careful what we say today and I’ve not been very good at that, but we were becoming like other leagues.

“They were blowing the whistle all the time and it wasn’t a good watch. Our game has always been unique, more meaty, more in your face and more intense and we got away from that.

“My comments yesterday were saying we’ve got our game back. That is the kind of football I remember playing in.

“We’ve got to be better for it. The directive to the referees is long overdue, we’ve got our game back.

“I enjoyed two games of football yesterday where men were playing men and they got about themselves and were falling out with each other.

“Okay, I don’t think we should be condoning the thing on the touchline, but I’ve been there. If you are on the touchline and things aren’t going your way and you feel there’s been an injustice. You’ve worked all week for these 90 minutes.”