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How prevalent is sexism in sport?

08:49 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

Sky Sports has said off-air remarks made by two football presenters about female assistant referee Sian Massey were "not acceptable". Is sport still sexist?

Host Richard Keys and pundit Andy Gray agreed female officials "don't know the offside rule" when they believed their microphones were off.

Women have lower participation levels in sport with the greatest gap at 18 when less than half as many women take part compared to men.

Do women suffer discrimination in sport? What can be done to increase participation levels for women in sport? What's your experience? How seriously is sexism in sport taken?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    The offside rule is not rocket science and I would be surprised if anyone involved in football wasn't aware of it regardless of sex. As for the knowledge and intelligence of MurdochVision presenters, that’s an entirely different question.

  • Comment number 2.

    Do women suffer discrimination in sport? Most likely in some sports!

    What can be done to increase participation levels for women in sport? Who cares!

    But is this really a big storey? No!

    Seems you can’t say any option without it been sexist, racist, or fascist in this country.

  • Comment number 3.

    Lets face it there must be some women (probably many) capable of playing at the same level as male professional players in most sports and by merit should play in the same teams.

    I find it difficult to believe that with over 3500 professional footballers in the UK that not one women is good enough.

    The argument could be that there is a separate women's league structure but that in itself is a nonsense.

    The same would apply to most other sports.

  • Comment number 4.

    When did being Professionally Offended start in the UK ?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    2. At 09:12am on 24 Jan 2011, AM wrote:
    Seems you can’t say any option without it been sexist, racist, or fascist in this country.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    What's the world coming to when you can't make a sexist comment without some busybody pointing out that you've made a sexist comment. It's political correctness gone mad. Probably.


  • Comment number 7.

    For me the issue is much more about terrible quality of Sky than anything else!
    The people who work at Sky go there because they can't get a job elsewhere and the money is good.
    That's not a ringing endorsement for Sky but it's true - the quality just isn't there hence you get these type of remarks!
    Sky should be barred from any more TV coverage in this country - they don't deserve it!

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't know. More to the point, I don't care. Even more to the point - if this had happened on BBC, you wouldn't be talking about it.

    Even more to the point than that - the BBC has just been caught out for fairly obvious ageism/sexism, not on the basis of an ill-judged remark, but thought-out policy.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, I saw the offside decision and the lady was absolutely right, no question that she needs specs. Men and women often make sexist remarks but as long as these are in fun, I don't see the problem. I think Ms Massey will welcome the attention from the media.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    The off-side rule is often so difficult to judge in real-time - the debate should be about allowing video evidence to allow (or not) a goal where there is doubt. As with rugby, it is only fair to refs that they be given this possibility. (apart from being fair to everyone else involved - players, fans, etc)

  • Comment number 12.

    I wouldn't let a spot of lads banter upset me, after all it is the players on the field who do not understand the offside law if they keep getting caught out by it. And how many times has Andy Gray been caught offside?

  • Comment number 13.

    sexism in sport is quite common. where i work the lads will NOT accept a female ref, a female umpire, as they are deemed not to understand sport! strange how our woman sports people come home with loads of medals, heads high which is remembered at the time only to be lost a day or two later.
    those commentators should be sacked to set the way forward, somewhere males have to understand they cannot dominate forever regardless of whom they think they are. on ageism, that is a BBC speciality...

  • Comment number 14.

    How prevalent is sexism in sport?

    About the same as in any other profession I would have thought.

  • Comment number 15.

    8. At 09:30am on 24 Jan 2011, Masons Arms wrote:
    the BBC has just been caught out for fairly obvious ageism/sexism, not on the basis of an ill-judged remark, but thought-out policy.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Actually the BBC was found guilty of ageism, but not of sexism. The two are not interchangeable.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Who gives a rat's?

  • Comment number 18.

    It was a JOKE. Get over it.

  • Comment number 19.

    There are undoubtedly many women out there who don't understand the offside rule. There are, equally undoubtedly, many men, of which I am one, who don't understand the offside rule. Personally, if I never learn the offside rule, that'll be too soon. Football (and sport in general) is not something I intend wasting any more time on than I can help.

    With the exception F1.

  • Comment number 20.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    We are bomabarded with sexist stereotypes daily, especially during T.V. adverts.
    Think about the latest advert from a popular high street chemist where two ill women bemoan the fact that they can still juggle their daily lives whilst the men are in bed with colds. A sexist stereotype about 'man flu'.
    Or any number of cleaning product adverts where the man is portrayed as a bumbling idiot who can't use a washing machine, or look after their kids, or who doesn't lift a finger around the house. These are all stereotypes of men. The offside rule and womens' understanding is a well known stereotype. Can't we just accept that however misguided, perhaps, just perhaps they were joking and take the comments in jest.
    The past decade will go down in history as the period where everyone lost their sense of humour and every individual was considered a victim of some 'ism'.

  • Comment number 22.

    Is there ?

  • Comment number 23.

    10. At 09:34am on 24 Jan 2011, the_eternal_optomist wrote:
    football is played and watched by morons
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    A rather ironic comment, coming from someone apparently unable to spell their own username.

  • Comment number 24.

    "don't know the offside rule"?

    What hope then of teaching the LBW rules?

  • Comment number 25.

    Did you know that it is reported that the Palestinians were making moves in secret to move the peace process foreward?

    Hands up all those who think that is interesting and worthy of discussion.

    OK, now put your hands up if you think that sexist comments made by a couple of commentators at a football match shown on Sky TV is worthy of discussion.

    To BBC - can you please move HYS from the news page and put it where it now clearly belongs, the entertainment section, or better still sell the rights to OK or Chat magazine; this sort of rivetting topic is right up their street.
    It's getting to the point where I'm half expecting a discussion entitled, 'What are your favourite recipes'.

  • Comment number 26.

    Would'nt it be nice if the mens England cricket team were as good as and as successful as our ladies!!!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Society is sexist, racist, fascist, homophobic and irrational. Not as much as it used to be but it is still present. Sport business or anyhthing else will have a degree of those negative attributes as that is just how some people are. Having said that however, these sports presenters were having a laugh and a joke "OFF AIR" so although they were sexist between my friends and I a joke is a joke and i do not feel they should have apologised to the public at large, but i do feel they should apologised to their employer for being unprofessional. Free speech you either are for it or against it. Was this said to offend, no. was it said as a joke to a friend and college in a private off air moment, yes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh deat it's the `ist season again.
    Sad stuff

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm waiting for the day when I can't say "Good morning" to someone in case their father/mother/pet/potted-plant has just died and I get accused of being insensitive.

  • Comment number 30.

    //15. At 09:40am on 24 Jan 2011, Mr Cholmondley-Warner wrote:
    8. At 09:30am on 24 Jan 2011, Masons Arms wrote:
    the BBC has just been caught out for fairly obvious ageism/sexism, not on the basis of an ill-judged remark, but thought-out policy.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Actually the BBC was found guilty of ageism, but not of sexism. The two are not interchangeable.//

    Nice try, CW.

    Engage with the issue. The BBC got caught out because of its ageist policies.

    Not a casual remark - a thought out policy. A policy in which many people must have been involved.

    And gender was an issue, either way.


  • Comment number 31.

    Sexism in sport? Really? Tell me something I don't know. I've coached football for both male and female players of all standards. I've qualififed as a referee alongside the "fairer" sex. I'll tell you this: Women's sport is dull, slower and not as competeive as mens sport. I have nothing against women, or younger kids for that matter, officiting at this level, but to suggest - as some hve here today - that we should start mixing the genders? Get real.

    Women have got to get used to the banter. Equality? Only if women have anadvantage first. We all need to be treated the same to become the same. Goes for our Moslem cousins too.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sexism is prevalent in many parts, others are more balanced...

    Some men's football clubs discriminate against women while others give strong support.

    In a way it's a simplistic silly question, just look at how many UK Muslims / Asians regard women where sport (and many other things) are a NO No.

    We already know the answer don't we?

    Can we have some more serious debates / questions, like the economy and public sector etc?

  • Comment number 33.

    Bauer wrote:
    It was a JOKE. Get over it.

    -----

    Maybe racist jokes are ok to say on prime time TV as well then? What's the difference? I can see that this country needs a serious attitude shift!

  • Comment number 34.

    There is undoubtedly sexism in sport especially when different sexes get paid different amounts at the same tournament, for the same amount of work. A case in point is that men have to play at least an extra set of tennis to win equal money and are thereby providing more work for the return offered.

  • Comment number 35.

    Get a grip HYS, this is not important, shocking or anything worth the effort. Why not a question on something that matters?

  • Comment number 36.

    This was an off air comment made between 2 colleagues, probably said in jest. Get over it.

    Obviously,if they had said this actually on air, or if it seemed like they genuinely believed that no women don't understand the offisde rule it would be a different matter. But they didn't.
    (for the record, I am a female who understands the offside rule- something to do with touching the ball in the area, right ;-p)

  • Comment number 37.

    #15 Mr Cholmondley-Warner

    Well, Chumley, I reckon the absence of women's cricket and football on the BBC is pretty definite evidence of an unhealthy bias of some sort in programming philosophy.

    The fastest way to show you take people seriously is to take them seriously. When the BBC do that without any prejudice I will consider them to have grown up.

  • Comment number 38.

    · 17. At 09:41am on 24 Jan 2011, MellorSJ wrote:
    Who gives a rat's?
    ###############

    I am sure you wont.

    Have you seen what you can get for a rat on the open market?

    If you had said who sells a rat, then I could answer You

  • Comment number 39.

    @25
    "To BBC - can you please move HYS from the news page and put it where it now clearly belongs, the entertainment section, or better still sell the rights to OK or Chat magazine; this sort of rivetting topic is right up their street.
    It's getting to the point where I'm half expecting a discussion entitled, 'What are your favourite recipes'. "

    Quite agree, while you are at it the BBC radio 4 '"news" flagships' of Today and PM can go along with them, the reporting is no more accurate than that on page 7 of the sun and would be suitable for OK or Chat as well. Indeed 'today' covered this very same 'story' as if anyone cares.

  • Comment number 40.

    My experience of watching football on Sky is that it is a pity the commentators often dont know the laws of the game, and they make quite ridiculous comments about situations and decisions during matches. Often these refer to offside. If they studied the laws, which do change each season, and were up to date in their knowledge, they would do a better job.
    All assistant referees make mistakes from time to time, regardless of gender, but it is fair to say match officials make far less mistakes than players (or dare I say it - commentators).

  • Comment number 41.

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

  • Comment number 42.

    blatterboy wrote:

    Women have got to get used to the banter. Equality?

    ---

    Why? Does this mean people can behave and be as fascist as they like and then claim the victim needs to get used to the banter?

  • Comment number 43.

    21. Spot on. Couldn't agree more. Stereotyping is one of the main sources of comedy.

    25. Adding cream cheese, ground black pepper and thyme to mashed root veg (e.g. potatoes, swede, parsnip) makes them even more delicious.

  • Comment number 44.

    I personally find these remarks (and the one's made about Karen Brady) obnoxious. I suspect its something a bit more deep seated than a bit of banter. Official verbal warning required.

    To be balanced, the sexism is also working in the reverse direction where several pretty-young-things are being introduced as presenters (sport/weather girls/Countryfile etc.) - where you have some doubts about their experience/intellectual merits...

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh goody ! Another useless waste of HOT AIR . We are inundated with cries of Sexism, racism, ageism and all the other ism's. Sooner, hopefully rather than later, the people who drag up all the modern crazes for moaning will use the same amount of energy to talk about things that will put this country back on its feet.

  • Comment number 46.

    25. At 09:49am on 24 Jan 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:

    Did you know that it is reported that the Palestinians were making moves in secret to move the peace process foreward?

    Hands up all those who think that is interesting and worthy of discussion.

    OK, now put your hands up if you think that sexist comments made by a couple of commentators at a football match shown on Sky TV is worthy of discussion.

    To BBC - can you please move HYS from the news page and put it where it now clearly belongs, the entertainment section, or better still sell the rights to OK or Chat magazine; this sort of rivetting topic is right up their street.
    It's getting to the point where I'm half expecting a discussion entitled, 'What are your favourite recipes'.


    Hear hear!

    My favourite recipe is sautéed lambs liver with bacon in an onion sauce. Absolutely delicious.

  • Comment number 47.

    31. At 09:52am on 24 Jan 2011, blatterboy wrote:
    Women have got to get used to the banter. Equality? Only if women have anadvantage first. We all need to be treated the same to become the same. Goes for our Moslem cousins too
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well done. You've managed to bring Muslims into a debate that had nothing whatsoever to do with them. It's almost a form of Tourette's for some posters here.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oh dear, you get some morons posting on this site don't you? It appears that issuing sexist and fascist remarks has become some commonplace with some people that they have absolutely no idea they're doing it or what damage their words are causing.

    I hope Gray and Keys get suitably punished for this since we clearly need to send a message out to certain people! Also, they get on my nerves.

    -
    They won't

  • Comment number 49.

    England fans and commentators often mistrust "foreign" officials...German fans have considered all English fans,players and officials as cheats since 1966. Female columnists and TV presenters have joined in the "sex wars" enthusiastically for years and "laddish" male chauvinists are paid astronomical salaries by the BBC. soap Operas are riddled with scripts portraying all sorts of discrimination and stereotyping (in the interests of making us all more socially aware).
    ....Are women who choose to make a career associated with football really so precious and sensitive that they can't brush off two Sky reporters? I don't believe it....it is another example of media eavesdropping and snitching to the thought police. Who else are they listening in on with recorders at the ready....and why are the media, including the BBC, making such a big deal out of this trivial incident?

  • Comment number 50.

    I admit women officials are going to be just as prone to correct or wrong decisions as men officials. But is nothing sacred to us men for goodness sake? You get women only organisations, swimming pools running women only sessions, women only insurance companies, women's football teams etc. etc.. We are no longer allowed men only bars, men only this or that, women have just got to get in on everything we had. Now it's football too.
    Is it sexist to ask to have something that women don't get involved in? I don't think so. It's got nothing to do with their abilities in officiating or opining on football, i just want something for me and my mates to watch/talk about without blumming women getting involved in.
    I think it was this frustration that was being bantered about between the two sky sports presenters, just as i was with my mates in the pub yesterday. We were talking and agreed she shouldn't be there, that women don'y know anything about football. We don't believe it, but we say it cause it was one of our few remaining sanctuaries from the wife, or other peoples wives.

  • Comment number 51.

    8. At 09:30am on 24 Jan 2011, Masons Arms wrote:
    I don't know. More to the point, I don't care. Even more to the point - if this had happened on BBC, you wouldn't be talking about it. Even more to the point than that - the BBC has just been caught out for fairly obvious ageism/sexism, not on the basis of an ill-judged remark, but thought-out policy.

    Actually, the BBC was caught out by ageism, not sexism - and far from not talking about it, it featured the story on all that day's news bulletins and opened a HYS on it.
    The point is, this kind of casual bigotry from Gray and Keys shouldn't be tolerated. It wasn't a "private conversation", they were at work and miked up. Ron Atkinson didn't get away with insulting a black player off mic, why should we expect more leniency because it's "only" about a woman?
    Millions of women pay to watch football, both on Sky TV and in the stands - do none of us understand the offside rule either? It's really not that difficult.
    Non-sporting-background presenter Richard Keys has no more insight into the laws of football than any armchair fan. I bet Ms Massey has played more games than he has. And Andy Gray should stick to playing with Sky's latest techno-gadgets and leave the intelligent analysis to someone better qualified.

  • Comment number 52.

    Sexism in sport? Really? Tell me something I don't know. I've coached football for both male and female players of all standards. I've qualififed as a referee alongside the "fairer" sex. I'll tell you this: Women's sport is dull, slower and not as competeive as mens sport. I have nothing against women, or younger kids for that matter, officiting at this level, but to suggest - as some hve here today - that we should start mixing the genders? Get real.

    -------------
    Top class women's sprinters can run faster than virtually any male premier league player along with 99.95% of the rest of the male population,if given the opportunity to play football at that level they would no doubt demonstrate this ability.

    If by not as competitive you mean not as full of people trying to gain an unfair advantage and deceive the officials (this actually only tends to apply to football and rugby )but is probably true

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm sure there is sexism in sport. There has to be to a certain extent as many sports are split for men and for women.

    As I'm not involved in sport, I don't know.

    But we have the Irish government collapsing, forests being sold off - and we're talking about this, with the others not coming up???




  • Comment number 54.

    Nowhere near the prevalence of sexism against men in the rest of human activity.
    You hear all the time, in everyday conversation, " all men ....", "Men can't....", "Men never...."

    Sexism is a 2 way street and most sexism today is anti men.

    26. At 09:49am on 24 Jan 2011, Confuciousfred wrote:
    Would'nt it be nice if the mens England cricket team were as good as and as successful as our ladies!!!!!

    Our men's cricket team IS AS GOOD AS OUR WOMENS, THAT'S WHY IT'S NOT SUCCESSFUL

  • Comment number 55.

    "My favourite recipe is sautéed lambs liver with bacon in an onion sauce. Absolutely delicious."

    Lamb's liver?? Sounds offal....

  • Comment number 56.

    Instead of resorting to allegations of Sexism why doesn't the government just castrate all boys at birth. That would remove sexism by making us men effeminate, we'd all be the same, isn't that the true holy grail of sexism fanatics?
    Fortunately there are enough real women out there who understand otherwise the world would be in terminal decline.
    Boys struggle to compete against women, for us it takes the heat, fun, pleasure and pain of battle into a different more mollified and pacified arena. It's just not in most men's genes to fight women and it takes the fun out of our playground.
    We like to have our little largely meaningless competitions and squabbles and they occasionally do lead to aggression which is in our genes.
    Please stop trying to spoil our fun and stop resorting to the law to sort out a problem that will never be solved.
    Men are from Mars, Women from Venus and ne'er the twain shall psychologically meet.

  • Comment number 57.

    Discrimination?
    You're having a laugh.
    I will give you one example where there's no discrimination, Tennis.
    If the women played all their Grand Slam tournaments at a different time to the men, they would be playing in front of empty seats.
    And why do people say something they believe, only to apologize when someone kicks up a fuss.
    The truth hurts I guess.

  • Comment number 58.

    Instead of worrying about sexism of women in sport, how about doing an HYS about the sexism against women in the work place, or sexism against women in countries where they have no rights, or are trapped and used as slaves, or where they are forced into marraiges they don't want, or were they treated as second class citizens, or were they are used by men as prostitutes against their will, or even at the BBC, though that was ageism. Lets face it, women all over the world are used and abused, especially in countries with strict and abominable religious beliefs.
    However, back to the original question, yes, women do face sexism is certain sports.

  • Comment number 59.

    When seated in the stands down the local footie ground, the prevalent opinion I hear expressed around me is that most officials, irrespective of gender, do not understand the offside rule.

    Listening to those seated around me, however, I'm none too sure how many of THEM (again irrespective of gender) understand it either!

    I do, but it is not my gender but age and disability that means that you won't be seeing me running a line or refereeing any time in the conceivable future:)

  • Comment number 60.

    How prevalent is sexism in sport? I wouldn't know really. We very rarely get to see women taking part in sport on TV. Aside from the Olympics and Wimbledon, most women's sport is relegated to a mere footnote in the papers.

    Interestingly, the winner of the ladies' singles at Wimbledon gets the same prize money as the men, despite actually playing fewer sets, which to me seems rather...unfair? In trying to tackle inequality, I think they've gone the wrong way.

  • Comment number 61.

    This wasn’t just a harmless light-hearted jibe – it was two odious misogynists voicing their utter ignorance. You can make really awful blatantly sexist or racist remarks, as some comedians and presenters have done, in a jocular spirit, and call it ‘light-hearted’ or ‘ironic’, but anyone listening to this can’t possibly conclude that it was said in anything but a serious manner. You can just hear the nastiness in their voices. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said on air – if anything it has exposed what utter hypocrites these presenters are. Nobody needs to make a big deal over the gender, race or other feature of a match official. A referee is a referee. They train hard, face the contempt of thousands of fans every time they make a decision, and have their decisions scrutinised over and over again by every myopic manager, pundit and fan in the country. They are slaughtered for every mistake, and rarely praised for a good performance. I expect the linesman faced the same kind of leering ignorance from the ‘fans’ behind her. You should expect more professionalism from two experienced commentators, but sadly this ignorance is all too common in the beautiful game. Sky should put these presenters out to grass, but they won’t. We think that equal rights for women have come a long way since the ‘50s but sadly they’ve come full circle. Women can be tolerated if they’re easy on the eye, play up to their good looks for the benefit of ogling men, and don’t get involved in ‘man’s business’. Otherwise they can be ignored, insulted and patronised. It seems that it’s not only the BBC that treat women with contempt.

  • Comment number 62.

    Men's sports are usually more physically demanding so mixed participation is out of the window, but not on grounds of sexism, and I think officiating at football is quite within most women's abilities, however they do excel at indoor sports such as dusting, hoovering, burning dinner and washing up so its unfair to drag them into pastimes which could detract from their abilities in these areas.

  • Comment number 63.

    Who cares? I'm of the non women gender & I don't care about the "off side rule" - football is of complete indifference to me - all we have is around 2 doz overpaid divas kicking a ball round a field, then going out at night and then beating up whatever WAG is attached to them.

    To make matters worse, these thugs are regarded as "heroes" in the media - it gets rubbed into their tiny minds that simply because they kick a ball into a net, are paid (not EARN) more in a week than most folk take a year to work for, that they are above the law!

    Until the FA crushes such mentality into the dirt, where it belongs, I have not second to devote to the so called "beautiful game". If my perception is wrong - then it is up to its participants to correct matters from the inside & for the media to cease pandering to said thugs!

  • Comment number 64.

    33. At 09:53am on 24 Jan 2011, makar wrote:
    Bauer wrote:
    It was a JOKE. Get over it.

    -----

    Maybe racist jokes are ok to say on prime time TV as well then? What's the difference? I can see that this country needs a serious attitude shift!

    -------------------------------

    An Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walk into a bar....

    Yes, maybe it is ok to make the odd joke of that nature. People need to lighten up and not take everything so seriously.

  • Comment number 65.

    “Is it sexist to ask to have something that women don't get involved in?”

    Yes, it is.

    Which activities, exactly, do you believe would be utterly ruined by the presence of humans who happen to have one more X chromosome than you?

  • Comment number 66.

    Are people really surprised by the sexist attitude of these SKY Sports presenters ?

    SKY sports is a part of the same company that owns The Sun & The News of the World which both feature semi-naked women as a part of their news coverage and since SKY got involved in darts, speedway and several other sports one of their marketing tactics has been to have scantily clad young women dancing around like strippers. As well as the topless girls & dancers they also have a feature on Soccer A.M. for "Soccerettes" which is just another cheap tactic of getting young girls to simulate stripping on a Saturday morning TV show.

    I'm surprised that The Times hasn't started its own reader’s wives section given the standards set by the rest of the company.

  • Comment number 67.

    Whatever happened to free thinking, let alone freedom of expression? Why are folk so eager to take offence? You have your views, I have mine. Lovely.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    First of all, there is a huge difference in someone saying one sexist remark and actually being sexist. Refs and lines men/women recieve all kinds of remarks depending on which side they take favour in. It's from human nature to think and say certain things when something is taken away from you - particularly in sport, if the women was offended then an apology would be the most sportsmen thing to accept.

    Although allot has to be said about football in particular and how the game has devided people, I don't mean by race or gender - it's mainly by team, to think you couldn't possibly have two football fans from different teams standing next to each other because they have different logos on their shirts is more degrading to sport than anything.

    In regards to women participation levels in sport, each to their own.
    There are plenty of women football, rugby, hockey clubs around, i've been to quite a few women rugby union matches and thought it was better rugby. The most diverse physical sport IMO is volleyball where gender doesn't even come into the sport at all - probably because England didn't invent it.

  • Comment number 70.

    It is an old, old joke about the offside rule and women and vey out of date. Football has gone a long way to being more inclusive for families and women. As a result many women enjoy watching a match, taking their kids to it and know a lot about the game - including the offside rule.

    I admire anyone who stands on the line and has to make a call on whether a player is offside. At times these guys and girls have to have eyes in the back of their head and make an instant decision. All lines people get it wrong from time to time. This particular young lady got it right as the TV replay showed.

    I'm not big on the PC culture as I think that it has gone too far in many situations. Having said that, Keyes and Gray are very experienced broadcasters and need to be aware that microphones can be live when they least know it. Have they not learnt anything from Ron Atkinson and Gordon Brown's mic accidents?

    If it had been a racist comment then they would have been fired. As it is a sexist comment they will probably get a slap on the wrist and be told to be good boys from hereonin. They should at least be suspended in my view to demonstrate to the football community that sexism should not be tolerated in the same vein as racism.

  • Comment number 71.

    We think we've come so far, that we're so much more enlightened than cultures in which women are oppressed, and yet thoughtless sexist comments are still made by public figures and these comments are dismissed as a joke or trivial. Perhaps one sexist comment causes no harm, but a lifetime of exposure to such comments and the attitudes they represent do harm women (and those who care about them). I am a father to two wonderful daughters. I used to play football when I was younger and wanted to share that with my kids. They enjoyed kicking the ball around with me when they were young until the encountered the inevitable brick-wall of sexism they faced trying to play football in school. They now both hate the sport, which to me is a tragedy given how beautiful football can be.

    For the record, the female assistant referee called the game flawlessly, which is better than some of her male colleagues have managed recently. As for the Sky broadcasters - surely Sky can do better than a pair of village idiots....

  • Comment number 72.

    I don't think that anybody would take this topic seriously but let's be quite frank a woman football referee is unusual and maybe a good thing? It certainly causes a raised eyebrow or two amongst the football commentators but not in snooker world where Michaela Tabb is a joy to behold and can act as a welcome distraction when the snooker action becomes a bit boring.

  • Comment number 73.

    #21 is absolutely spot on!

    I've no real problem with a female lino, or even a ref for that matter, but she is going to be in for some serious stick when she gets a decision wrong!

    You can come on HYS and cry about it till the cows come home, but because she's a woman she's going to be getting even more abuse than a male linesman, and believe me they get it bad.

    I just hope this extra pressure and abuse doesn’t affect her ability to do what is already an extremely difficult job...

  • Comment number 74.

    65. At 10:17am on 24 Jan 2011, Matt Bright wrote:
    “Is it sexist to ask to have something that women don't get involved in?”

    Yes, it is.

    Which activities, exactly, do you believe would be utterly ruined by the presence of humans who happen to have one more X chromosome than you?
    --------------

    So women are being sexist by asking for swimming pools to be closed to men for a period of time so they can swim without men present? The Women's Institute is sexist? I don't think it is, but by your comment, we could use the same argument but reversed. What activity would be utterly ruined by the presence of men?

    But that is detracting from my point. My point is, what harm is there in having an activity that women do not get involved with men in?

  • Comment number 75.

    No win situation. The BBC get into bother for dumping "mature" (but no doubt competent)lady presenters in favour of what I believe is ephuistically called "eye candy" (pleasing to the male ego) Then when Sky TV men make inappropriate comments common place in different context thats wrong too. All in all I suppose it was a funny which backfired, some jokes are not funny to those being made fun of, especially in this context. Hardly worth a war. I don't listen to the pundits anyway telling me what I should think about a match so sadly I missed the comment. I suppose as usual they were prattling on to fill long minutes of time when there is nothing really worthwhile for them to say. After Ron Akinson perhaps they would have learnt. A big red light in front of you when the mic. is live?

  • Comment number 76.

    I'd like to begin my comment by referring to Gardner's theory of seven intelligences. Some people possess stronger ability in certain areas such as communication and language, or maybe mathematics, whereas others might be weaker in one area, but stronger in another. Another one of Gardner's seven proposed intelligences is spatial awareness. Empirical research has shown that females are generally less intelligent in this area than language and communication for example (research also shows that women are better communicators than men). Although I disagree with discrimination of any kind, the comments made by the two sport presenters in question probably carry some truth, but I daresay that neither one of them took the initiative to think of Gardner's theory of seven intelligences to back up their "off-air" comments. Doing so might have made them look less biggoted and ignorant in the long run. I believe that sexism is still prevalent in sport, and so is homophobia. The world of sport tends to be very patriarchal and anybody who doesn't conform with society's idea of what is "masculine", is considered novel if part of the sporting world. To be honest, this has been known for some time and it's far from revolutionary or progessive to be discussing it in 2011. It would be nice, at this stage, to try breaking down these man-made barriers. Buddhists over three thousand years ago disovered that all human beings have masculine and feminine sides, this also supports the theory of seven intelligences because some men (men with more dominant feminine sides) are fantastic communicators and equally, there are a lot of women out there who have good spatial awareness skills.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm a bloke and I don't give a damn about the off side rule or this silly little game you fill your thoughts with. Most footy following men are so autistic they need a common subject with which to strike up a conversation with other men. They have had this disease of the mind passed down from their failed fathers as the only way as a child of seeking approval from their 1st role model. Then later running with the pack at school. It is a surrogate activity for hunter gathering which in the 20th century was used as an instrument of the state to channel male energy in a harmless (or should that be non-revolutionary or questioning) direction. Hitler said don't talk politics to the people, give them a exciting boxing match. That is the function of mass spectator entertainment such as sports. In the last few decades big business mega corps have took over sports to try and convert it into a family entertainment in order to expand it's financial potential to the max.

    So this accidental off air comment will be played down by Murdock's empire not because of it's basic sexism but because it could effect earnings. They not play it as much as they played the recording of Gordon Browns off air remarks because this time it makes their product look bad. Everything is about money people, don't matter to industry. They put Beckham forward as typical of football, he has never said anything controversial in his life, the perfect public relations marketing tool. He is not the norm but the exception.

    Have a listen to Alan Watt about sports:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFjGj77wG-4

  • Comment number 78.

    Do women suffer discrimination in sport?...Only when they insist on getting involved in sports or other activities for political or social engineering reasons - just to prove they can do it.
    What can be done to increase participation levels for women in sport?....force schools to have 50/50 representation of male/female in all sports teams...football, rugby, cross country, basketball. That would require changing some of the rules and introducing penalties for swearing or ogling.....but it might be worth it in the name of equality












  • Comment number 79.

    Do women match officials think they have the monopoly on being slagged of by fans and footy pundits? Maybe they just need some thicker male skin.

  • Comment number 80.

    NEWSFLASH!!!
    Like it or not people are different and will have different views.
    There is handfull of people who think they have the power to control this.
    Its Horrible, its Terrible Blah Blah Blah.
    ITS HUMAN get a life.

    Example:
    Force alot of chemicals in a test tube and you will get a reaction.
    Why would you think forcing alot of people in a test tube to be any different?

    Would i be wrong for being human or are you wrong for trying to change me?

  • Comment number 81.

    73. At 10:27am on 24 Jan 2011, We_Are_All_Utd wrote:
    #21 is absolutely spot on!

    I've no real problem with a female lino, or even a ref for that matter, but she is going to be in for some serious stick when she gets a decision wrong!

    You can come on HYS and cry about it till the cows come home, but because she's a woman she's going to be getting even more abuse than a male linesman, and believe me they get it bad.

    I just hope this extra pressure and abuse doesn’t affect her ability to do what is already an extremely difficult job...
    ====================
    Of course the crowd will have a go - but the commentators should be supportive - these remarks taken with the Karen Brady one make it unacceptable (as well as purile, childish, immature,,,).

  • Comment number 82.

    sexism is is about in all walks of life, when man wishes to have control, or not able to accept criticism from a woman, or women wishes to maintain her feminism benefits given by man, yet wants to be classed equal, if things don't go right.

    Froyd would suggest it is all in our complex of mother daughter/son relationship. In the end we need to grow up and accept the world is a complex enviroment.

  • Comment number 83.

    Sky Sports is part of Sky,is part of The Sun/News of the World, is part of R Murdocks media empire, it relys upon topless women to sell its most popular newspaper, in other words the central business concept is that it believes that women prostituting their semi-naked bodys is fine as long as there is a market of lower intelect and ignorance of which to sell such to.
    Murdocks philosophy permeates much of its business empire of which Sky Sports is a part, hence its no wonder that such bias exists in Sky Sports or elsewhere in the Murdock media empire towards women who are in some instances just a marketable product, though they will reject such suggestions.

    R Murdocks media empire does have some quality parts, but this I think is just to provide a bit of better credibility as well as cornering a more intelectual smaller market as well as a bigger market of ignorance & bias.

    Whats more important in this is that these 2 muppets seem to believe that women have little or no capacity to understand something as complex as an offside rule, but have the ability to understand less complex things such as that required by surgeons and operating on people or scientists, or teachers, or university lecturers, or being an astronaught, but a complex game of football is beyond them.

    These 2 muppets should be retired, this is 2011, not 1911.

    I have mentioned the Murdock word, hence I doubt this will be published, such is his power, that said, I personally accept responsibility for this comments content.

  • Comment number 84.

    Some things will take generations to change. The sexist attitudes of a pair of football pundits is the thin edge of the wedge.

    How many professional footballers have been accused of sex offences in the last 10 years and managed to obtain a not guilty verdict?

    How many footballers have managed to avoid a prison sentence for crimes of violence or obtained a not guilty verdict despite weight of evidence.

    Changing the attitude of an overpaid elite? Ask the bankers. They are more likely to change than these 'sportsmen'.

  • Comment number 85.

    Does anyone really care? Sexism is a reality and most of the time its just humour. If any woman really cares about this then they should look at any sexist comments they themselves use.

    As a kid my mother stated that I should mow the lawn because I am a guy. My response was that women fought for equal rights for years, therefore she has the right to get the lawn mower and sort out her yard.

    Life is a 2 way street. Everyone needs reminding of that at some point.

  • Comment number 86.

    25. At 09:49am on 24 Jan 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    Did you know that it is reported that the Palestinians were making moves in secret to move the peace process foreward?

    Hands up all those who think that is interesting and worthy of discussion.

    OK, now put your hands up if you think that sexist comments made by a couple of commentators at a football match shown on Sky TV is worthy of discussion.

    To BBC - can you please move HYS from the news page and put it where it now clearly belongs, the entertainment section, or better still sell the rights to OK or Chat magazine; this sort of rivetting topic is right up their street.
    It's getting to the point where I'm half expecting a discussion entitled, 'What are your favourite recipes'.


    ********* My comment ***********

    They've already done that one. It was during the run up to Christmas and it was entitled: "what will you be eating this christmas?".
    It does seem a bit banal, but I suppose we need something to take our minds away from the economically inept rulers of our world, the fact that basic commodities are more expensive than they've ever been, the violence, sectarianism and hostility which is being fostered in many parts of the world and the lack of progress and reiteration of problems about which we are ALREADY WELL AWARE.

  • Comment number 87.

    Msg 63. At 10:15am on 24 Jan 2011, W Fletcher wrote:

    To make matters worse, these thugs are regarded as "heroes" in the media - it gets rubbed into their tiny minds that simply because they kick a ball into a net, are paid (not EARN) more in a week than most folk take a year to work for, that they are above the law!

    Agreed. Just did a bit of research on footballers' wages.

    Of the Top 50:

    No 1. Cristaino Ronaldo £217,000 per week (£11.3 million pa)

    No 50. Alessandro del Piero £79,000 per week (£4.1 million pa)

    UK Top:

    John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard each on £125K per week (£6.5 million pa).

    And that's just their salaries. It doesn't include brand sponsorship, appearances etc., etc., etc.

    Seems a bit excessive for kicking a ball about a bit.

    If they were paid 100th of that they'd be grossly overpaid.

  • Comment number 88.

    When did someone saying something about someone else in (what they believed to be) private on a subscription sports channel become news-worthy?

    Why do the proletariat obsess about a bunch of astronomically paid men running around a field hitting a ball with their foot?

    How did our society become so lazy minded?

    What are you asking me for?

    Where is this leading us?

    Who cares?

  • Comment number 89.

    Women who participate in sport are what they are, the same for guys.
    The fact that fewer women participate tells me there are many reasons.
    Lets not engineer people or create an unatural order of things.
    When humans are at their peak of fitness there are major physiological differences between males and females. Women are usually of childbearing age with all the hormonal bodily activity,there is no escaping from.
    Could this be the reason fewer woman participate? Of course it is!

  • Comment number 90.

    There is no issue here, just what is a stereotypical comment being picked up by mics from a couple of men, who as far as we know were just having a laugh.

    There are things on T.V every day, that tell us men are useless, that we can't operate when ill, that we are brainless slobs who can't clean or tidy but you don't hear a peep from us because IT IS NOT A PROBLEM!

    Why does everything have to offend someone? Is this a 21st century thing that is present in all countries where multiculturalism and equality are put in priority over common sense and humour? So who cares if they said something not 100% "PC" or whatever people have decided this is....there really are much more important things in the world to get upset and angry about that effect us all, rather than talking about if a linesman (or woman or girl or what ever) got her feelings hurt.

    And as far as comments suggesting women and mens football should be mixed, please watch an entire womens game of football, the physical aspect, the pace and the quality of long balls and shots then come back and seriously suggest still that it's a good idea.

  • Comment number 91.

    So what?

  • Comment number 92.

    Just imagine, it is the year 2050, an alcohol dispensing establisment (pubs have been banned by the Greater European Empire)...conversation runs along the lines of ....

    "Greeting person (can't say mate/fellow/chap/darling/love as it's illegal)- did you have an acceptable 8 hours in the production establishment (can't say office/factory etc as it could engender sex specific concepts of working practice)?"

    "Why yes, non gender specific person...quite acceptable. (can't say thank YOU as it could infer invasion of another individual's right not to be identified under the 2030 Data Protection Act)."

    "Is it possible that a 0.25 litre container of alcoholic beverage would be acceptable?"

    "That is affirmative, non gender specific individual"


    It's coming to province of the Greater European Empire near you.



  • Comment number 93.

    "How prevalent is sexism in sport? - HYS:

    It's about as prevalent in Sport as it is in EVERY walk of life. Both sexes face 'sexism' throughout their lives - whether it be the inability to read a Map, or not being interested in gossip etc. It's an inbuilt NATURAL trait. PC is causing the Male / Female divide - and the Media promotes it for their OWN reasons.
    Personally, I much prefer Females to be Feminine - as NATURE intended...

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree with the sky commentators who unfortunately had not turned off there Mick........its NOT earth shattering news, I am sick to death of the BBC if this is all you have to think about.

    People should be allowed to speak how they feel its a shame we can't all speak how we feel this Country is bogged down with petty minded people, who was the sneak who sent in there comments - we are becoming a police State!

  • Comment number 95.

    37. At 09:54am on 24 Jan 2011, Daisy Chained wrote:
    #15 Mr Cholmondley-Warner

    Well, Chumley, I reckon the absence of women's cricket and football on the BBC is pretty definite evidence of an unhealthy bias of some sort in programming philosophy.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    If they can't justify the viewing figures, it won't happen.

    I have to say I can't be bothered with cricket or football of any sort.

    And as long as we keep talking about man 'flu, we really can't criticise men.



  • Comment number 96.

    The lady was proved correct in her decision - as their comments were heard by the public - whether intentional or not - perhaps these two dinosaurs would like to make a decent apology if/when they are allowed to broadcast again!
    What an advertisment for the "macho" image of football !!

  • Comment number 97.

    77. At 10:31am on 24 Jan 2011, LaAntena wrote:
    I'm a bloke and I don't give a damn about the off side rule or this silly little game you fill your thoughts with. Most footy following men are so autistic they need a common subject with which to strike up a conversation with other men. They have had this disease of the mind passed down from their failed fathers as the only way as a child of seeking approval from their 1st role model. Then later running with the pack at school. It is a surrogate activity for hunter gathering which in the 20th century was used as an instrument of the state to channel male energy in a harmless (or should that be non-revolutionary or questioning) direction. Hitler said don't talk politics to the people, give them a exciting boxing match. That is the function of mass spectator entertainment such as sports. In the last few decades big business mega corps have took over sports to try and convert it into a family entertainment in order to expand it's financial potential to the max.

    -----------



    Your attitude towards people who watch football is no better than sexist or racist people. You are making the same generalisations and stereotypes, and it all goes to show how bigoted you actually are. And calling a group of people autistic as a derogatory term would no doubt offend those who are themselves autistic, or families who have autistic relatives.

    Idiot.

  • Comment number 98.

    Didn't the same sort of thing happen to Ron somebody or other on another channel, got caught by the microphone he though was off. That time it was racism and he lost his job and suffered endless media rehabilitation. It is interesting that everyone has their knickers in a twist a lot less about sexism than racism. Clearly lower down the PC food chain.

    You can look at it two ways. Personally I think they should ask the woman they were talking about to judge them and sentence them.

    Yes sport is sexist, probably racist, certainly discriminatory in other ways, bullying - generally unpleasant, especially where large sums of money are involved.

  • Comment number 99.

    Does this mean that we can get rid of know all Gray?

    Regarding the female official issue - Would you like your wife/girlfriend to be open to the abuse that comes from player and fans alike?

    It's not the place for a lady!

  • Comment number 100.

    Why is this such a major event? Oh, I see, its concerning your main rival so you are making a big deal of it.

    Can we discuss staff taxis?

 

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