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Sexism offside in today's society

If anyone referred to Sian Massey, the female linesperson at the centre of the Sky Sports sexist scandal, as a pimple on the rear end of an elephant, they too would be in line for the sack.

But the comment comes from the elevated heights (in all senses) of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, where Beth Brooke, Ernst & Young global vice chair, used the phrase to describe attempts to increase the number of women in top corporate jobs.

It is hard to imagine anything further from the Alpine summit than a match between Liverpool and Wolves, where commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys said all the wrong things about Ms Massey.

Yet the top economists and bankers have done something no football association would dare -- applied quotas to increase female participation.

It can be safely assumed that Ms Massey is a better than average linesperson to have scaled the gender barrier in professional football. In Davos, the delegations did not even reach a quota of one in five members being female.

High finance and professional sport each have a bad reputation for sexism. Both involve a great deal of money, rampant insecurity and a lot of male ego.

As with this latest case, the evidence is that the only thing wrong is getting caught.

Mr Gray was finally sacked when it emerged that his behaviour with female colleagues was much worse than his comments on Ms Massey. Presumably, this had always been the case and his Sky Sports bosses ignored it. More than his head should roll.

On the other hand, could a British newspaper have written this about a woman, instead of the disgraced Mr Gray? "A face only a mother could love; a sallow, greasy complexion which led to acne well into the 20s." Makes the offside rule seem simple.