Northumberland County FA vice president John Cummings has been suspended four months after telling a female referee that "a woman's place is in the kitchen and not on a football field." He later claimed that the conversation never happened. Then he said that it did, but he was only joking.
Cummings said this to referee development officer Lucy May at a referee workshop in March, but this was only part of the idiocy he decided to spew that day. From the BBC:
May, 24, asked Cummings about the possibility of officiating in the North East Sunday League.
Cummings told her she "wouldn't be able to handle it".
He added: "It's nothing against you personally but all the time I'm alive, a woman will never referee in my league."
This prompted an independent FA regulatory commission, including a member of the panel that handled the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand case, to investigate the matter. Cummings' defense was one that will make your brain turn to hot ice cream.
Cummings, who initially denied a conversation with May had ever taken place, 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."
There's really only one thing the FA investigators could have said to all of that:
The panel ruled that he did make the comments and he wasn't joking. In addition to the four-month ban for violating The FA's equality policy, he was fined £250 and ordered to attend an education program before resuming his duties. According to the BBC, he is considering an appeal.
This is just another reminder that sexism is very much alive in football. While this guy was trying to literally keep women out of the game at the grassroots level, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was going unpunished for his own highly publicized misogyny.
Individually these incidents are bad enough, but added together with the many examples of racism and homophobia in world football, they start to hint at the larger problem and show just how far the push for equality has to go.
- - - - - - -