The Northumberland County FA vice-president, John Cummings, has been suspended for four months for telling a female referee “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not on a football field”.
Cummings made the remarks to Lucy May, a referee development officer, at a referee workshop event in March when she asked about the possibility of officiating in the North East Sunday League.
The BBC reported Cummings told May she “wouldn’t be able to handle it … It’s nothing against you personally but all the time I’m alive, a woman will never referee in my league.”
An independent FA regulatory commission ruled that Cummings was guilty of a breach of FA rules relating to “abusive and/or insulting language”, aggravated because of a reference to gender.
He has the option to appeal against his punishment, which comprises the four-month ban, a £250 fine and attending an
education programme.
Cummings initially denied a conversation with May had taken place, but reportedly told FA investigators:
“It’s a standing joke with me. I mean, a woman’s place is in the home and everything so what difference does it make saying it in front of all her colleagues? She should obviously realise it’s a joke.”
The Northumberland FA’s chief executive officer, Clive Oliver, said in a statement: “All participants in sport have the right of appeal and whilst this window is still open we cannot comment on individual cases.
However I and Northumberland FA fully support anti-discrimination in all forms which has no place in sport [sic].
Football is an inclusive environment open to all.
The comments came three years after Richard Keys resigned and Andy Gray was sacked by Sky over sexist remarks made about the female official Sian Massey.