© Reuters. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori in Tokyo
By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) – Tokyo Olympics director Yoshiro Mori’s sexist comments are further proof that the entire sports system needs a shakeup, Women’s Sport Trust Executive Director Tammy Parlor said on Thursday . Former Japanese Prime Minister Mori, 83, apologized for saying women talked too much at meetings, but said he would not resign despite a storm of criticism on social media. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it considered the matter closed. “The athletes I’ve talked to have been totally incredulous when it comes to the comments, but this kind of attitude and this kind of comment has been going on behind the scenes for years, for decades,” Parlor told Reuters. She said that a group of elite WhatsApp athletes were excited by the ‘amazing’ story, but that the situation was not entirely negative. “In my opinion, the fact that it is being called now is really positive and provides an opportunity to talk about this,” Parlor said. “At the same time, I think it is important not to focus only on the comments because I see the comments as a symptom and the cause is that there is not enough diversity and inclusion throughout the system.” Mori’s words invited comparison with other older male sports leaders who have sparked controversy over sexist comments. Sepp Blatter, former director of the world soccer body FIFA, made headlines in 2004 when he suggested that women should play in tighter shorts than men. Former Formula One supreme Bernie Ecclestone, whose sport hasn’t had a female driver in a race since 1976, joked in 2005 that women should wear white as “other appliances.” Parlor said the system needed reform but suggested that progress was being made, citing as evidence the response to the online abuse directed at former England television and international expert Karen Carney. Carney deleted his Twitter account after his comments about Leeds United were ridiculed by the official account of the Premier League club. “If you look at the whole Karen Carney incident … actually, a lot of male allies stood up and said, ‘Look, this is not right,'” Parlor said. “I think it’s a massive tipping point, people are starting to talk and say ‘This is not really what should be happening and we have to re-examine the system.’ Parlor said a change was needed to remain relevant, progressive, creative and attract new audiences and sources of income, and there was a huge appetite for that in countries like Britain. “We have to look beyond gender as well, we have diversified. The industry is also too white,” he said.