BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley forced to call police over online threat

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Jacqui Oatley has presented football programmes for the BBC and ITV, and reported on games for Match of the Day. Photograph: Andrew Hayes-Watkins/BBC

The sports presenter Jacqui Oatley has told how she was forced to call the police after receiving violent threats online.

Speaking to the Guardian, Oatley, who in 2007 became the first female commentator on BBC1’s Match of the Day, said a man threatened to come to her house and “cut” her, among other “unmentionable” things.

The presenter said she had to alert authorities a second time after receiving an abusive tweet from a referee who was still at school.

“I decided that, instead of ignoring it, I’d write to his school and speak to someone in the refereeing department at the FA,” Oatley said. “I just wanted him to be made aware of his social media actions and how they could impact on his future career, rather than see him punished.”

She said police tracked down the sender of the threatening messages to a particular house, but could not be sure which household member it was. They said the sixth-form student claimed that his Twitter account must have been hacked and apologised to Oatley.

The presenter was opening up about the online abuse experienced by women working in the sports industry at the end of Women’s Sport Week, which aims to highlight the issue and get more women and girls playing sport. “When they tell me to get back in the kitchen, I tell them to get back to 1936,” she said.

“Ideally, in 10 years’ time, we won’t have Women’s Sports Week and the results will just be incorporated into other coverage. But of course Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Earlier this year, whilein France covering the European championships, Oatley hit back at a Twitter user who suggested that she should be “at home cooking tea rather than presenting football,” by saying she was a “bit busy doing my dream job”.

Since making her debut as a TV presenter at the end of 2010, Oatley has been a regular member of the BBC’s football coverage team, working for Radio 5 Live and the corporation’s TV channels. Last year, she signed up with ITV to report on football and darts.

Her efforts to champion the role of women working in football earned her an MBE in the 2016 New Year honours list.