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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Fresh 'sexist' footage thrusts Keys back in firing line as Sky continues to fall in

The focus appeared to shift back on Richard Keys last night after new footage of him making inappropriate comments to Jamie Redknapp before a game surfaced on the internet.

Keys is heard seemingly making sexual references during a conversation with Redknapp as they sat in a studio before a broadcast.

Former players Graeme Souness and Ruud Gullit were also present during the clip, which appeared on YouTube.

This latest revelation came as Keys' former fellow presenter Andy Gray was today set to consult with his lawyers after being sacked from his job on Sky Sports over his off-air remarks directed at women.

Gray saw his contract torn up yesterday when more footage emerged of the pundit appearing to make an inappropriate remark towards a female colleague.

For the third time in three days, off-air comments made by Gray came into the public domain, with the latest video showing the 55-year-old saying something suggestive to Charlotte Jackson.

The footage was circulated two days after a recording in which Gray and Keys made controversial comments about assistant referee Sian Massey at the Liverpool-Wolves Molineux clash.

The release of the new material prompted the termination of Gray's reported £1.7m-a-year contract, 24 hours after he and Keys had been disciplined for their remarks about Massey.



Dismissal

Lawyers Schillings said last night they had been instructed by Gray over his dismissal.

His former Everton team-mate Peter Reid said he suspected the pundit's sacking may be linked to the legal action he has taken against the News of the World over the phone-hacking scandal.

The newspaper is a subsidiary of News Corporation, which owns a large stake in BSkyB and is seeking to buy the whole company.

Reid said: "He has got lawyers involved with the phone-hacking at News International. I did think of linking the two things."

Sky Sports reporter Andy Burton was also sanctioned yesterday after footage emerged on Sunday of him and Gray commenting on Massey's appearance.

Announcing the departure of Gray, who has been one of the faces of the broadcaster's live Premier League coverage since it began almost 20 years ago, Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: "Andy Gray's contract had been terminated for unacceptable behaviour.

"After issuing a warning yesterday, we have no hesitation in taking this action after becoming aware of new information."

The new footage, which was recorded last month but only came to light in the past 24 hours, shows Gray lifting his belt while Jackson is attaching her microphone pack.

He says: "Charlotte, can you tuck this down here for me?"

Jackson can be briefly seen smiling, while Gray and Keys burst out laughing.

Gray's sacking was followed by an announcement from Professional Game Match Officials that they had withdrawn 25-year-old Massey from last night's League Two match between Crewe and Bradford, where she had been due to run the line.



Unwittingly

PGMO general manager Mike Riley said: "Sian is an excellent professional who has unwittingly found herself in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with her competence as a match official."

Reporter Burton was earlier disciplined for describing Massey as a "bit of a looker" in an off-air -- but nevertheless recorded -- conversation with Gray prior to Saturday's Premier League game at Molineux.

Burton has been stood down from tonight's Carling Cup semi-final second leg between Birmingham and West Ham at St Andrew's.

That followed Sky Sports' decision to remove Gray and Keys from duty for Monday night's Premier League game between Bolton and Chelsea after both were recorded questioning Massey's appointment for the Wolves game, claiming women "don't understand the offside rule".

Sky Sports declined to comment on when or if Keys -- who, like Gray, has been an employee for two decades -- would again front their football shows.

Keys telephoned Massey on Sunday night to apologise on behalf of himself and Gray for their remarks -- an apology she accepted.

It was not known yesterday whether Burton would elect to -- or be forced to -- make a similar apology and neither was it known whether Keys had apologised to West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, who he also disparaged for suggesting sexism was rife in football.

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