'I prefer to hear a male voice': Women commentators find harsh judgment at World Cup

'I prefer to hear a male voice': Women commentators find harsh judgment at World Cup

- Who gets to narrate such moments of high athletic drama became a subject of controversy this week when Vicki Sparks, a British sports journalist who made history by becoming the first woman to commentate on a live World Cup match for British television, faced criticism for her "high-pitched tone."

- READ MORE: * Suarez - club rivalry pushed aside vs Ronaldo at World Cup * World Cup demystifies some Russian stereotypes as host nation embraces Fifa tournament  * World Cup security concerns * Germany stunned, eliminated * Sweden, Mexico into last 16 * The champions who couldn't back up The assessment - "just a personal preference", Cundy said on the ITV show, disclaiming bias - is a familiar one for women who venture to speak in male-dominated spheres.

- Cundy's objection to the female commentator drew the rebuke of Piers Morgan, co-host of Good Morning Britain, and became one more piece of evidence that the World Cup is proving to be a fraught arena for gender relations and norms of appropriate conduct, as female sports journalists fend off unwanted kissing and groping - sometimes on air.

- As Sparks broke one gender boundary at the World Cup, other women encountered persistent barriers to the simple execution of their jobs.

- Julieth Gonzalez Theran, a Colombian journalist, was in the middle of a live report for Deutsche Welle's Spanish channel on opening day of the World Cup when a man approached her, grabbing her breast and kissing her on the cheek.

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