Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has telephoned assistant referee Sian Massey to apologise for his off-air comments about her at the weekend.
Keys and Andy Gray were dropped from Monday’s line-up for the match between Bolton and Chelsea after the row over sexist remarks.
The pair caused controversy after agreeing female officials “don’t know the offside rule” and predicting Massey would drop a clanger during Wolves’ home game against Liverpool on Saturday. She ended up correctly calling a crucial borderline decision.
Keys’ telephone call to Massey, who was said to have accepted the apology, was confirmed by a spokesman for Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO).
Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said earlier that Keys and Gray had been disciplined and dropped from coverage of the Bolton vs Chelsea match.
He said: “I have spoken directly to both Richard Keys and Andy Gray this morning. It has been made clear to each of them that their comments were totally unacceptable. Those views are inexcusable, entirely inconsistent with our ethos as a business and employer, and will rightly offend many of our customers, our people and the wider public. They are inexcusable from anyone at Sky, regardless of their role or seniority.”
Former Everton striker Gray and Keys are both long-standing front men of Sky Sports’ football coverage. They thought their conversation was private but it was obtained by the Mail on Sunday.
The duo agreed that someone should get pitchside to explain the offside rule to Massey. Keys added: “I can guarantee you there’ll be a big one today. (Liverpool manager) Kenny (Dalglish) will go potty.”
Then, referring to West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady’s piece about sexism in a Saturday newspaper, Keys added: “See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love.”
Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, who is a qualified Football Association coach, told ITV News at Ten: “I think they are particularly stupid and ignorant. I think the girls’ and women’s game has increased so much that actually what they show is that they spend too much time in their glass commentary box and not enough time outside in the real world. I think that they should be forced to commentate on all future England women’s internationals.”