Some viewers may have done a double-take early Saturday while watching the replay of Liverpool’s first goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers to see if Raul Meireles was offside or not. With hair bobbing up and down, it was a female assistant referee who made the critical decision to keep her flag down, allowing Meireles to run on and take a pass from Christian Poulsen and for Meireles to pass the ball to Torres who slid the ball into the back of the net.
The replay clearly showed that the assistant referee made the correct decision. Ronald Zubar played Torres onside.
But who is the assistant referee who made the correct decision? It’s not every day in the Premier League that you get to see a female assistant referee.
Her name is Sian Massey. She was the assistant referee in the Sunderland against Blackpool game in late December 2010. Her appearance in today’s match between Wolves and Liverpool is only her second Premier League match. Previously she has been the assistant referee for many games in the Championship, LDV Vans Trophy, League Two as well as women’s World Cup qualifying.
She has been refereeing on a professional basis since March 2010.
Her next scheduled match is Tuesday’s game between Crewe and Bradford. It’s not the Premier League, but if she keeps on showing consistency and puts in great performances as an assistant referee, it makes you wonder when she’ll be given the chance to be the official referee. Thus far, she has only been given the chance to be a first and second assistant referee as well as a fourth official.
Massey is definitely a role model for women in officiating what has typically been seen as a men’s game. Let’s hope she continues her rise to fame.
UPDATE: Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray made several sexist comments about Massey and Karren Brady off-mic Saturday. Hear the audio and read the story.