Harris backs Sky over sexism row

Most agree that the beautiful game should be played and officiated by both sexes.

But two of the most well-known faces in British football caused public uproar recently, as they made ‘sexist’ remarks about female assistant referee Sian Massey.

In the wake of comments made by Andy Gray and Richard Keys on Sky Sports, heads have rolled and headlines have been written.

With these words still echoing through the halls of female sports, Megan Harris, the captain of Lincoln Ladies Football Club, said her team mates regard the duo’s comments as indefensible.


Harris believes the sexism controversy has increased the reputation of women's football. Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln Ladies Football Club

She said: “It has been a hot topic of conversation between the girls at training. It is something that we as a team and individuals do not condone in anyway and are extremely disappointed that this kind of view is being aired in the current day.

“Gender shouldn’t be a factor in whether someone can referee, play or coach. It is entirely the person’s ability to perform and Sian Massey is clearly able to officiate at that level as she showed on Saturday.”

The Lady Imps are one of the founding members of the new F.A. Women’s Super League which kicks off in March. As an athlete playing at the top of her profession, Harris said that she is fortunate enough not to have been subjected to this stereotype that often in her career.

“Other than school yard jibes when I was younger, which I feel from my career as a PE teacher has completely changed, I have been lucky enough throughout my career to be surrounded by people who have always been supportive and positive towards women in football and sport in general.”

As the old saying goes, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. Despite the negative press, a lot of positives can be taken from the controversy. The midfielder feels that the profile of the women’s game will benefit from its ever-growing media coverage.

Harris said: “I think female football has come a long way in the last decade and the opinions and attitudes of the majority of people are extremely positive and supportive.

“Unfortunately there will always be a very small minority of people that will not change their opinion entirely but I feel that there has never been a more exciting time for women’s football.

“[There is] the success of the English national team, the amount of young girls taking up the game at grassroots level and the launch of the new Women’s Super League.

“All of these factors can only help raise a positive awareness and hopefully stamp out any prejudices that may still be apparent.”

Despite having an obvious personal investment in removing sexism from sport, Harris feels that it is not only this topic that needs to be addressed.

“All issues are of equal importance in sport and there is no room for any form of prejudice at all, whether it be racism or sexism.

“Whatever is the buzz topic of the time will obviously receive a lot more attention due to the press coverage.

“But I feel that it is clear from the backlash of the current revolutions that sexism is a topic that is taken seriously and not accepted in today’s society.”

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