‘Sexism’ row female ref removed from Badgers game

Assistant referee Sian Massey'Sunderland AFC v Blackpool'Sunderland lost 2-0 both goals by  D J Campbell
Assistant referee Sian Massey'Sunderland AFC v Blackpool'Sunderland lost 2-0 both goals by D J Campbell

Sian Massey, the referee at the centre of the Sky Sports sexism row, has been withdrawn from officiating at Eastwood’s game against Corby Town tomorrow (Saturday).

She was due to referee the Blue Square Bet North match but the Professional Game Match Officials group has removed her from the game due to the intense media attention on her.

As we revealed in the paper today, Badger boss Paul Cox had given his full backing to Miss Massey in the run-up to the game.

He told Advertiser sports editor Mark Duffy: “I’ve absolutely no problem with any female official being involved in the game at any level.

“The fact is, if they know the rules of the game and have passed all the relevant exams and assessments on how to apply them then they’ve every right to officiate.

“If Sian Massey was elected to run the line at a top flight game then she must have done very well in the past to get that high, so good luck to her.

“I know I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with officials in the past but they have a very difficult job and if they make mistakes then they make mistakes, it doesn’t matter if they’re male, female or alien.

“We had a female assistant referee in a match earlier this season and she had an excellent game.”

The 25-year-old was the assistant referee at last weekend’s Barclays Premier League clash between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool, where Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys were recorded making comments regarding the appointment of a female official.

Both have since left their posts when the recording of them suggesting women ‘did not know the offside rule’ was leaked.

She had already withdrawn from officiating at one match between Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City on Tuesday night and after consulting with her, the PGMO has now decided that it would be better if she also missed Badgers tie on tomorrow.

“The focus needs to be on the match not the officials,” a PGMO spokesman said. “It would be unfair on the clubs.”

See next week’s Advertiser for a full report from the game.