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Yorkshire Post editor in Twitter row over wanting 'girl' to take paper's chief football writer role

Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson has said he wants the paper’s next chief football writer to be a “girl”, prompting a backlash on social media.

Mitchinson shared an advert for the role on Twitter, seeking a replacement for Richard Sutcliffe who leaves after 15 years next month.

Alongside the advert, which he shared last night, Mitchinson said: “As a boy, I’d dream of getting this job. As [it] happens, I want a girl to have it.”

His comment drew fire from some, who accused him of “positive discrimination” in pushing for a woman to take the job.

One Twitter user said: “Wouldn’t call it patronising and am all for equality, gender balance etc, but it’s positive discrimination.

“Presuming you have a role in the decision making, haven’t you pretty much just said ‘you’re less likely to be successful if you’re a bloke’?”

Mitchinson replied: “I’m saying, I’d love a woman to prevail in what is likely to be a very competitive process.”

Another asked the editor why he had made the statement, to which he said: “Because I’ve inherited a sports team with not a single female sports journalist. 25 journalists. All men. I’m not cool with that…”.

Others were supportive of Mitchinson, however, with one woman saying: “I interpreted your comment as we all have ambition, but in the past certain people have been favoured.

“Now you’re in a position to help those who have an ambition but might have been over looked go on to achieve it it, you’re being a change maker for good.”

The chief football writer role demands coverage of “Yorkshire’s biggest football clubs” as well as international travel “covering England’s Lions and Lionesses in equal measure”. Applications close on 16 August.

The England women’s team (pictured top) reached the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer, with the all-female tournament attracting its biggest ever UK TV audiences, peaking at 11.7m when they lost to eventual winners team USA.

Picture: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

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