Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gray gets red card

Premier League - Sky Sports sack 'offensive' Andy Gray

Gray and co-presenter Richard Keys were recorded making disparaging comments about Sian Massey, 25, who was running the line during the Wolves v Liverpool clash on Saturday.

A Sky statement revealed that Gray's sacking was also linked to a similar incident in December, where he made an innuendo-laden comment to Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson when he asked her to tuck in his shirt.

Sky said they terminated Gray's contract "in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour".

Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: "Andy Gray's contract has been terminated for unacceptable behaviour. After issuing a warning yesterday, we have no hesitation in taking this action after becoming aware of new information today."

Massey has now been withdrawn from Tuesday's League Two game between Crewe and Bradford where she was due to act as an assistant referee.

Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley said: "PGMO and Sian believe that with any football match the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself. That is only fair to those connected with the clubs and their supporters.

"Sian is an excellent professional who has unwittingly found herself in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with her competence as a match official.

"Sian only wants to be notable for her performance as an assistant referee and is keen for things to get back to normal so she can return to officiating as soon as possible.

"Sian has the full backing of PGMO and we hope she continues her development, which has shown excellent progress so far."

Shortly before news of Gray's sacking broke, a third Sky Sports football presenter was suspended over a further secret recording leaked to the media.

Sky's touchline reporter Andy Burton referred to 25-year-old assistant referee Massey as "a bit of a looker" during an off-air chat with Gray before a pre-match news report at the Wolves game.

Burton has now been suspended, and will no longer be involved with the coverage of this week's Carling Cup semi-final second legs.