FA official banned after telling female referee her place was 'in the kitchen'

John Cummings hit with four month suspension and fine

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A Football Association official has been banned for four months after telling a female referee "a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not on a football field".

John Cummings, the Northumberland County FA vice-president, made the remark to Lucy May, a referee development officer. It came during a workshop event in March after she asked about the possibility of officiating in the North East Sunday League.

According to a report from the BBC, Cummings told her she "wouldn't be able to handle it".

He added: "It's nothing against you personally but all the time I'm alive, a woman will never referee in my league."

An independent FA regulatory commission, led by solicitor and former Blackburn Rovers player Stuart Ripley, concluded Cummings was guilty of a breach of FA rules relating to "abusive and/or insulting language", aggravated because of a specific reference to gender.

As well as the ban, Cummings was fined £250 and must attend an education programme before he returns to his position.

Cummings, who initially denied a conversation with May had ever taken place, told FA investigators: "It's a standing joke with me. I mean, a woman's place is in the home and everything so what difference does it make saying it in front of all her colleagues? She should obviously realise it's a joke."

Cummings may yet appeal the decision.