Richard Keys and Andy Gray comments make Karen Brady's 'blood boil'
Monday 24 January 2011
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady admits off-air remarks by Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray about both herself and Premier League official Sian Massey made her "blood boil".
The pair commented on Massey's appointment for the game between Wolves and Liverpool at Molineux on Saturday, when they believed their microphones were switched off.
They concurred that female officials "don't know the offside rule", with Keys adding: "I can guarantee you there'll be a big one today. (Liverpool manager) Kenny (Dalglish) will go potty."
Massey crucially made a correct borderline call in the build-up to Liverpool's first goal at Molineux.
Keys also went on to remark on comments made by Brady in The Sun on Saturday morning about the level of sexism in football by saying: "See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love."
Brady told Five Live this morning: "It makes my blood boil, if I'm absolutely honest.
"Forget myself for a second, because what was said about me is a personal opinion and everyone is entitled to that.
"What really upsets me is the fact only females in our industry are judged by their gender. And that is categorically wrong."
She added: "I'm genuinely disappointed. It never would have occurred to me that they had those views, whether public or private.
"It almost makes it worse that they're speaking when the microphones are not on as opposed to when they are on, because (they have) never really had the brass neck to say it publicly, they would only say it privately.
"I have heard it and I don't believe it is just banter."
Top snooker referee Michaela Tabb has accused the pair of "basic slander".
Tabb, 43, who has refereed the World Championship final at the Crucible, said: "What they have done there is completely unacceptable because they have not given her her place at all as an official.
"They are basically doubting her ability. She has obviously passed every exam and whatever qualifications she's had to go through.
"It's basic slander, what they've done to that woman."
Asked about the comments made relating to Brady, Tabb said: "It's hardly worth commenting on. These guys are obviously extremely sexist, that's been proved, and I hope they get what is coming to them in that respect, really.
"People do say things and I realise it's personal comments that they have not expected to be caught out on and I'm sure people have said things about me.
"But it almost seems that they believe it, more than just a passing comment, from everything that's been reported on it."
Everton Ladies striker Natasha Dowie said: "It's disappointing. I watched the game and thought it was a terrific call. It was onside so, if anything, they should be praising her rather than making comments like that."
An FA statement read: "The FA has made real strides in encouraging both male and female match officials to enter the game at every level, and will continue to offer every encouragement to all officials within the football family to progress to the highest levels possible.
"We are proud to have some of the world's best match officials, both male and female.
"Overall the number of female referees in England (Levels 1-8) stands at 853 and climbing, and all of our female match officials act as fantastic ambassadors for the game. They have our wholehearted and continuing support."
Referees body Professional Game Match Officials issued a statement from their general manager Mike Riley which said: "All PGMO referees and assistant referees are appointed on merit and ability. They are assessed on their performances only."
Sky Sports last night said Keys and Gray apologised for their comments.
They released a statement which read: "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."
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