BBC football pundit suspended for referring to players’ scuffle as ‘handbags’

Steve “Tommo” Thompson has been suspended by the BBC from his punditry duties after referring to a scuffle between two players as “handbags”.

The 65-year-old, who works as a freelancer, has been laid off for the rest of the year after complaints from listeners about the outdated phrase.

Thompson made the comment on BBC Radio Lincolnshire during Lincoln City’s 1-0 win at Swindon Town on Tuesday in the Sky Bet League One.

Explaining their decision, the BBC said the phrase "handbags" was not in line with their standards.

The broadcasting giants said: “After listeners raised concerns, Steve acknowledged some of his comments on air didn’t meet the standards we expect.

“He is taking a break but will be back in the New Year.”

However, several fans are campaigning for his reinstatement, insisting there is nothing malicious behind the intent.

Marcus Greatorex said: “It’s just an old term. The BBC should pay more attention to songs on their stations promoting knife crime and drug use.”

While Lincoln fan Bernard O’Mahoney added: “As any football fan knows, ‘handbags’ is an incredibly well-known saying.

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“I can’t begin to think who’d be offended by it. The BBC has lost touch with the public.”

The term appears in the Collins Dictionary as “an incident in which people, especially sportsmen, fight or threaten to fight, but without real intent to inflict harm”.

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