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FA official says female referees 'belong in the kitchen,' gets suspended 4 months

Paul Gilham

John Cummings is the vice president of the Northumberland County FA and, apparently, very openly sexist. He's been suspended four months for saying that women belong in the kitchen and that they shouldn't be refereeing men's football matches.

Lucy May, a referee development officer, asked Cummings about the possibility of a woman officiating in Sunday League -- non-professional football. This was his response:

"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."

But wait, it gets worse! Here's what he reportedly told FA investigators after they decided to look into the origin of these comments.

"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."

Ah yes, the usual response.

At this point, it's pretty amazing that dinosaurs like Cummings still exist. Sian Massey has been a linesperson in the Premier League for a few years now and is widely regarded as one of the best in England. German referee Bibiana Steinhaus has been an official in fully professional men's football since 2007. It should be fairly clear, even to Cummings, that women are perfectly capable of officiating in professional men's matches.