LONDON: Sports banter at work can alienate women and soccer talk in particular risks becoming a gateway to "laddish behaviour", the head of Britain's Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said on Monday.
"It's very easy for it to escalate from VAR talk and chat to slapping each other on the back and talking about their conquests at the weekend," chief executive Ann Francke told BBC radio.
Francke said she was not calling for a ban on sports banter in the office or shop floor but felt there needed to be greater awareness and sensitivity towards female staff who might be excluded.
She said managers needed to be inclusive and ensure everyone in the team felt comfortable.
"A lot of women, in particular, feel left out," she said. "They don't follow those sports and they don't like either being forced to talk about them or not being included."
The CMI is a professional body that counts more than 132,000 managers and leaders in its membership. There are 7,697 chartered managers.
Comments on Twitter under a link posted by the BBC to their website story were largely hostile.
"This is ridiculous - as a female football fan, this kind of presumption that women either don't like football or would want others to stop talking about something we're not interested in is ridiculous," commented @LaurenD1905.
"Tackle (pardon the pun) the gender pay gap or workplace harassment instead."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)