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Sky Sports apologise for sexist comments by presenters

Mon 24th Jan 2011 | Television & Broadcasting

The unguarded comments made by Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray about assistant referee Sian Massey, could see them severely disciplined by the channel.

Sky Sports have been forced to apologise and are under increasing pressure to discipline the pair after they made sexist comments about the female assistant referee during Liverpool’s win over Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

The comments were made off air but were picked up by the pair’s microphones which were still recording during Sky’s live broadcast of the game at Molineux.

The pair complained that assistant referee, Massey, probably didn't know the offside rule and that someone "fucked up big" by appointing a female match official.

"The game's gone mad," said Keys, the channel's football anchor.

Massey, 25, was running the line in a Premier League game for only the second time and made a crucial, finely judged offside decision when Fernando Torres scored the first goal for Liverpool.

She is one of three assistant referees selected for promotion by the Premier League and has been earmarked as a potential official in for the biggest matches. There are 853 female referees in England and the number is rising.

Key and Gray also commented about Wendy Toms, who in the late 90s became the first female assistant referee in the Premier League and Karren Brady, West Ham’s Vice Chairman.

"It is absolutely abhorrent that gender is the only consideration when talking about female officials," Brady told the Guardian. "I am very interested to see what the bosses at Sky Sports think of this and then we will know whether sexism goes to the top of the game or not."

Sky said last night: "The comments are not acceptable. They were not made on air but we have spoken to Richard and Andy and told them our views and they have apologised and expressed their regret."

The FA issued a statement which offered "wholehearted and continuing support" for female match officials.

Mike Riley, general manager of the referees' body said: "All referees and assistant referees are appointed on merit and ability. They are assessed on their performances only."

 

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