England’s footballers have come a long way since they were embarrassed to lose to Iceland in 2016. And the transmitters too.

The list of moderators, analysts and commentators at ITV and the BBC is much more diverse than it was five years ago. Of the 23 people ITV announced at the time to be part of its on-air team for the tournament in France, only two were women – Jacqui Oatley and Eni Aluko – and five were ethnic minorities. This time the 31-strong team consists of seven women and 14 blacks.

The BBC has also sharpened itself. Three women – Gabby Logan, Kelly Cates and Caroline Barker, all presenters – and five people of color were among the 40 announced to cover Euro 2016 for national television and radio. Now there are nine women working in every available capacity and 10 out of 45 with an ethnic minority background.

“This is really overdue,” said Genelle Aldred, author of Communicate for Change and committee member of Women In Journalism. “We are very happy to see it and we applaud it. But we would also like a stronger representation in all areas. “

Katie Bailiff, Managing Director of Women in Film and Television said, “Things are starting to move in the right direction. But I can’t quite get myself to the backslap or holla and whoop just yet. After all, we are in the year 2021 and more than half of the population are actually women. “

It may seem obvious to some that the TV panels and commentary teams should be diverse. When Alex Scott, who won 140 caps for England and was runner-up at the 2009 European Championship, talks about the pressure of big games, she is clearly speaking from experience.

But a decade ago the picture looked radically different. Football was almost entirely male dominated, a fact that was underscored when tapes of Andy Gray and Richard Keys leaked in 2011 making suggestive comments about assistant referee Sian Massey.

The presentation team of the EM 2012.
Photo: Andrew Hayes-Watkins / BBC

The following year, only Gabby Logan was involved in the coverage, as a roving reporter at the BBC’s English camp, and when the broadcasters were asked at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil if a woman could ever be an expert, the answer was: just who had direct experience with the sport, was able to analyze the game. Later that year, Aluko – 102 caps for England and 18 goals – was invited to Match of the Day, the show’s first female expert, and then worked as an analyst for ITV during Euro 2016.

“Hopefully when you break new ground it won’t be a big deal for other players to be hired the same way, and it won’t be long before women appear on football shows every week,” she said at the time.

Lucy Ward, a former Leeds United striker, said Scott and Aluko allowed other women to work in the men’s game – Ward co-commented several Premier League games on Amazon Prime and BT Sport for the first time last season.

“I was a good player but I didn’t get 100 caps for England,” she said. “A lot of people who don’t know me would say ‘and?’ These women paved the way for someone like me. “

Ward began her television career at the 2007 China Women’s World Cup after speaking with former BBC sports editor Lance Hardy. She believes the change wasn’t just with the broadcasters, as the decisions by clubs like Manchester City to treat women’s football on an equal footing with that of men brought about a major cultural shift. “When you go to Etihad, you see pictures of the women’s team up there. When they win a trophy, their image rises next to Agüero and de Bruyne – that slowly changes the attitudes of the majority of people. “

Ward’s agent Warren Haughton said one reason there are more options now for black former players is because the youngest generation of retirees are more diverse. “You have Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Ashley Williams, Ashley Cole – it’s diverse. And it has to be diverse, because the players who are now retiring are young black men and women who are still very close to the game. “