Women’s Football is No Joke

By Joy Niemack

Making news this week. No, not how awesome women’s football is, or how hard female footballers train or who won a league or a cup. No, making headlines are Andrew Gray and Richard Keys sexist comments regarding lineswoman Sian Massey.

The off air comments that were leaked went like this:

Burton: Apparently, a female lino today, bit of a looker…

Gray: A female linesman?

Burton: He [a Sky crew member] says she [Massey] is alright … Now I don’t know if I should trust his judgement on that?

Gray: Nah, I wouldn’t. I definitely wouldn’t… I can see her from here… [expletives]. What do women know about the offside rule?

And this isn’t the first time the duo has laughed at women’s football. I am glad people such as Rio Ferdinand are outraged about this, but at the same time a bit disgusted that these types of incidents still happen.

The first reason why such comments have made such headlines are that people aren’t used to seeing many lineswomen in football. If we saw more lineswoman in football, these types of comments wouldn’t have such an affect. Yes people would probably still have some derogatory and sexist things to say, but more lineswomen, if given the chance, could prove themselves and silence naysayers. Yes, we need more lineswoman in football. Yes we have lineswomen in tennis, but it’s ok because tennis is considered to be fine for females to participate in.

Football is still seen as a male dominated sport (along with rugby and cricket), so everyone who is associated with those sports are expected to be males. Just goes to show we still live in such a patriarchal society that female lines people are seen as the exception, that women’s football and women in football are marginalised.

West Ham United executive Karren Brady, who had also been the butt of their comments, said: “It makes my blood boil. What really upsets me is the fact that only females in our industry are judged by their gender. And that is categorically wrong. I am surprised they didn’t say ‘Better go and get the kettle on'”.

Let each linesperson prove themselves, not their gender.


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