Sheffield University Men’s Football Club (‘SUMFC’) have been widely condemned following a series of sexist and misogynistic remarks on Twitter.
The club have since apologised for the controversial tweets made on the SUMFC Twitter account leading up to and during their tour in Croatia in late March.
On Saturday 24 March, the club tweeted: “THE BOYS ARE BACK ON TOUR… I can’t wait for a week of respecting women. Live odds incoming…”.
They followed this with: “PRICE BOOST: [name withheld] to shag over 1.5 women’s rugby forwards – 5/1”.
While on tour in Porec the team tweeted: “After lengthy negotiations on the continent it can be confirmed that the SUMFC has agreed a partnership with Manchester Uni. See you later for a night of chaos ladies.”
The club recently retook the Varsity Oath, pledging to fair play, pride, respect and sportsmanship. Worries about bad behaviour, in particular towards women, have been pervasive in university sports teams for some time, and for many these incidents suggest that the problems remain.
Forge Press contacted SUMFC who responded with an apology, stating: “The club would like to formally apologise for any offence caused by tweets that have been considered sexist, or in any other way discriminatory.
“SUMFC do not in any way condone this behaviour and are committed to maintaining our values of respect for all on and off-the-pitch.”
They explained the tweets were written by a non-committee member, who has since had his access to the account revoked and who will be made to attend Inclusions Training.
Flo Brookes, Sports Officer at Sheffield SU, condemned the behaviour.
She said: “These comments and this behaviour go completely against what the Black and Gold community stands for. Incidents like these do not reflect the wider sporting community and it is such a shame that the careless acts of a few individuals jeopardise the reputation of our clubs.
“Speaking as a feminist myself, this behaviour is unacceptable and we do not tolerate acts of misogyny in sport. We can assure you that this has not gone unnoticed and will continue to work hard to achieve equality in sport for all students.
“We are working hard with Sport Sheffield to ensure that the individuals will be disciplined appropriately through the Sport Sheffield club code of conduct.”
Celeste Jones, Women’s Officer, also commented on the tweets. She said: “They are really disgusting. I think with all the work that especially Flo and the Sports Committee have done, around inclusivity campaigns this year in sport, it’s really disappointing to see that this club hasn’t really taken that on board.”
Forge Press contacted all of the sponsors of the club listed on their website and Twitter account. Hello Student, a private student accommodation company, were the only to respond.
They said: “Hello Student do not condone this behaviour and it no way represents our brand and what we stand for.
“Our sponsorship with Sport Sheffield covers 17 teams across the University, so we are disappointed to see these tweets. We are reviewing our relationship with Sport Sheffield.”
SUMFC have a history of controversial tweets, often disrespecting and objectifying women. Last year they posted: “Social secs = dumb and dumber secure the vote. Kingy and Butler will be ploughing through cheers social secs for the next year” and “Brilliant to see @PomSabrecats being nominated for club of the year!!! Especially seeing as they are about as relevant to that accolade as an empty crisp packet”.
Some of their tweets also suggest that initiations and hazing are taking place, despite being officially banned by the University. A tweet from last September read: “Now onto the real fun. “These freshie gimps are about to have their world turned upside down, pre initiation social is gunna be stinky”.
When asked about this breach of University rules the club declined to comment. However, a representative for Sport Sheffield said: “Sport Sheffield operates a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour which is made clear to all sports clubs at the beginning of the year. Any breach of this will be investigated via the Club Sport Code of Conduct and appropriate action will be taken”.
Sport Sheffield are due to meet with club representatives next week to discuss the incidents.
The Sabrecats cheerleading club have been contacted for comment.
Forge Press is investigating misogyny and sexism from University sports clubs. We are looking for personal accounts of misogynistic and sexist behaviour that anyone may have experienced during their time at University from sports teams. If you have had any experiences of this kind of behaviour, you can email email@example.com, where you will remain anonymous.
Some names have been withheld for personal reasons.