Its true that soccer, that all sports, are in some way defined by sexism in the sense it is divided between men’s and women’s leagues. However, that division doesn’t and shouldn’t extend to the referee, management, and executive levels of any club or country. Unfortunately it seems not everyone has gotten the message.
Now it may be true that Sian Massey is a bad ref, I don’t know, she seemed to do fine to me, and this was her first top flight appearance. It may be that Karren Brady is a bad vice-chairman, the results at West Ham of late and the Avram Grant saga don’t reflect well on her. But the point that I am trying to make, and the point that Keys and Gray can’t seem to grasp, is that anyone can be crap at their job, your gender has nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and as Richard Keys and Andy Gray so ignorantly displayed during their off camera comments about referee’s assistant Sian Massey, and West Ham United’s vice chairman, Karren Brady, it’s still a good ol’ boys club at heart.
During a recent UEFA meeting in Amsterdam the issues of discrimination in European football was addressed, and the working group found that over 99% of all mangers in Europe were middle-aged white males, and the same stat was offered for the positions of director of football, and chairman. An effort to address “institutional discrimination”, considered this new research which documented the clear “under-representation” of women in top flight football.
Dr Steven Bradbury of Loughborough University, who headed the working group, referred to the lack of women coaches, executives or club directors. The report found there is a “deeply masculine culture, and overt and casual sexism inherent within the men’s game”. Basically, the report concluded: “These stereotypical perceptions which equate women with a lack of suitability and competence have contributed to ‘filtering out’ women from accessing leadership positions at men’s professional football clubs and at the regional, national and European level of football governance.”
Now’s its all good and well, to talk about it those terms, but this what it looks like…ugly isn’t it. There’s no place for this in football, and the sooner its stamped out the better. And for my part, I think Keys and Gray are crappy commentators, not because their
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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