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UK soccer pundit sacked in sexism row

posted 26 Jan 2011, 11:34 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 26 Jan 2011, 11:36 ]

Sky TV soccer presenter apologises for remarks about female assistant referee as pundit is sacked over sexist behaviour.

UK TV sports presenter Richard Keys on Wednesday (January 26) apologised for remarks that sparked a soccer sexism furore and said he did not yet know if he would remain in his job.

Keys told TalkSPORT radio that comments he made regarding female official Sian Massey before Saturday's Premier League

match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool were "totally unacceptable".

Keys has been suspended from broadcasting on Sky Sports while his co-presenter and chief analyst Andy Gray has been sacked following the emergence of a number of other recordings in which the former Scotland international made sexist comments.

Keys said: "Prehistoric banter isn't acceptable in the modern world. I accept that. We failed to change when the world

has changed. We wholeheartedly apologise for our behaviour. It was wrong. I deserve to be battered. I can stand up and take a

beating. I'm not sorry for me, I'm sorry for Sian Massey.

"I'm not proud of what we did, there is no defence, there is no place for it. I was wrong. It was totally unacceptable. I

don't live in the dark ages, despite the allegation."

He said he was uncertain if he would remain in the job he has held for almost 20 years.

Earlier Keys had apologised for his part in the controversy as he left his home in Surrey to travel to London.

He said: "I'm on my way into London now to start apologising to the people that I need to. I would just like to say how deeply sorry I am for the part I have played in causing this furore."

Then he walked away, ignoring questions from a reporter.

Gray, meanwhile, who was fired on Tuesday, issued a statement through his lawyers saying: "I am very sorry that

certain comments made by me have caused offence. Such comments were made off air to work colleagues and, of course, were never intended to be broadcast.

"I was very upset when the comments were brought to my attention. It was my intention to apologise on Monday night when

I was back on air for the Bolton v Chelsea game. Sadly I was unable to do so as I was suspended by Sky Sports and have now been sacked."

Host Keys and pundit Gray were initially suspended by the broadcaster after they were recorded questioning whether Massey

"knew the offside rule".

Speaking before kickoff Keys had said: "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her". Gray retorted: "I know,

can you believe that? A female linesman...".

Keys later added: "The game's gone mad" before going on to mock recent comments about sexism in football made by West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady, one of the highest-profile women in the game.