Leeds' Gabby Logan: It’s important that more women’s sport on TV is not just a veneer

It is still a big deal for women to be seen and respected in the world of sport, presenter Gabby Logan has said.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:48 pm

Leeds-born Logan, 48, who has hosted shows covering many of the world's biggest sporting events from the World Cup to the Olympics, was speaking of her pride that her MBE is not only for services to sports broadcasting but also the promotion of women in sport.

After collecting her award from the Duke of Cambridge at a ceremony at Windsor Castle, she said: "When I first started out in this industry in the late 90s there weren't really women working in this industry.

"I did not think about that so much at the time although I kept being told it.

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Gabby Logan with her MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) medal presented by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle after an Investiture Ceremony.

"Then as you realise you are in a position of responsibility and what differences and changes can be made, it all becomes a passion.

"For me, women's sport and the increase in the coverage of women's sport is not just about little girls watching television and thinking I could be a footballer - it is about everybody thinking

'I can do things that I did not think were possible before'.

"This is for me one of the great powers of sport in that it opens your mind to lots of different possibilities."

Her childhood was all about men's football, with weekends spent watching her father, the former Welsh international Terry Yorath, play.

Logan, who is a former international gymnast, began her broadcasting career in radio in 1992 and joined Sky Sports in 1996.

She became the host of ITV's On The Ball football show in 1998.

Logan went on to present a variety of live sports events at the BBC on her way to becoming a high-profile figure in the industry as it works for greater and more varied representation.

The presenter said "representation is so important, and then there is the brilliant health messages" it provides because so many girls drop out of sport at a young age and as their bodies change.

She added: "Young girls having role models is really important and seeing their heroes on the field of play, like boys have been able to do for so long, is really important."

Logan was among those who criticised England rugby head coach Eddie Jones for comments which suggested that tennis player Emma Raducanu had become overburdened by commercial "distractions" in the wake of her US Open victory.

He made the remarks to illustrate his belief that Marcus Smith must remain grounded, after the 22-year-old Harlequins magician stepped off the bench to orchestrate a late flurry of tries in a 69-3 victory over Tonga.

Logan said: "I think maybe Eddie should've chosen a better example. I feel she (Raducanu) is an 18-year-old woman.

"Her achievements in the last six months have been so incredible, perhaps we could be more considerate and kind when we are talking about somebody losing a few tennis matches. I did not think it was a very good comparison."

Last week, Logan tweeted about Jones's remarks: "Unbelievably unfair and not even remotely comparable. She is 18 in her first 6 months of being pro she made the second week of Wimbledon and won US Open having never played on the tour. Imagine an 18 year old rugby player winning a World Cup having never played a club game."

Jones has since written to Raducanu to explain his comments.

Logan added: "We have got many more hours of women's sport on television but it is important that it is not just a veneer, as behind that there needs to be grassroots and pathways for children to get into sport beyond the elite level.

"There is lots left still to be done."

Of what William said to her during the ceremony, Logan said: "We had a little chat about rugby versus football and he asked me 'where is your heart (on this subject)?'

"I said I was very lucky because I get to do both."

William, a supporter of Aston Villa Football Club, told her he was pleased that Steven Gerrard has been signed up as the team's new head coach.

Logan said: "He was very happy with Steven Gerrard as the manager of Aston Villa. He was quite positive about that and trying to persuade (Prince) George not to support Man City.

"He was lovely. I think I could have chatted sport to him a bit longer but I had to let other people have their turn."