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Premier League assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis has urged fans to view women in soccer as worthy of their roles rather than using outdated stereotypes about their presence “as a check box.”
Speaking from her personal experience on International Women’s Day, she described some of the gender-related virulence she encountered in response to doing her job. She said she hopes to contribute to an atmosphere where the next generation of women is more comfortable with the game.
Massey-Ellis has patrolled Premier League matches since 2010, winning widespread recognition For his job. She also became the first English woman to officiate in a European men’s match in 2019.
What has been said?
“That is the stereotype I would like to challenge: that we are good enough to be there, and if we are there, we are not there as a check box.” Massey-Ellis told the official Premier League website.
“For me, I have gone through exactly the same path and exactly the same tests and challenges as the male referees.
“The challenge of the perception that we don’t know what we are doing has always been there.
“It’s always been, ‘Women don’t know the offside rule. Women don’t know what football is about, so they shouldn’t participate. ‘
“I want to be able to support other referees who are coming. I always say that once my career is over I want to make sure that we have the next generation of female referees and athletes.
“It’s really important that we create an atmosphere where they feel safe, an environment where they feel safe.”
Massey-Ellis was questioned at almost every step of her path to the Premier League because of gender, which made the ongoing comments about her place in soccer even more infuriating.
She has dealt with sexist comments from television analysts and has been the target of the epidemic of social media abuse that has rocked the soccer world for the past decade. Controversial player behavior towards her has the potential to create unwanted international news.
The 35-year-old hopes her difficult experiences will at least pave the way for those who follow her.
“When I said, ‘Can I be a referee?’ That shouldn’t be a question no other woman has to ask, “she said.