LONDON, January 25 – Former Everton and Scotland striker Andy Gray was sacked from his highly-paid role as a television pundit for Sky Sports on Tuesday after his sexist comments about a female assistant referee.
Gray’s contract, reported to be worth 1.7 million pounds (2.6 million dollars) a year, was terminated with immediate effect following his involvement in two separate incidents.
Former Aston Villa star Gray and Sky’s main presenter Richard Keys, believing their microphones to be switched off, made controversial remarks about lineswoman Sian Massey ahead of a Premier League match between Wolves and Liverpool on Saturday.
They both claimed that female officials did not know the offside rule, while footage was also leaked of Gray making further comments about Massey in a separate pre-match discussion with a Sky reporter.
Although Gray and Keys – who has been in trouble before with remarks made off air but caught on microphone – were both dropped from Monday’s TV coverage of the Bolton v Chelsea fixture, Gray’s sacking was also linked to a similar incident in December over a lewd comment made to Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson.
In a statement, Sky Sports announced Gray was dismissed "in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour" following an "off-air incident that took place in December 2010".
Along with Keys, Gray has been the face of Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League since the company bought the rights to televise English football’s top division in 1992.