Keys quits over sexism row

Face of Sky Sports bows to pressure but blames ‘dark forces’ for forcing him out

PRESENTER Richard Keys last night bowed to pressure and resigned from his high-profile role as Sky Sports football anchor over the storm caused by leaked footage of him making sexist comments.

Keys’ resignation was accompanied by an apologetic statement and came just hours after a disastrous appearance on live radio to explain his remarks, which earned him more criticism for hitting back at his detractors.

The 53-year-old follows his on-screen colleague Andy Gray in leaving the network this week after outrage at several clips of the pair making lewd or inappropriate remarks towards or in reference to women.

Keys confirmed his decision to quit in a statement: “I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offence they have caused; it was wrong and should not have happened.

“I have thought long and hard and reached the decision that it is time to move on. I wish Sky Sports continued success in the future.”

The furore erupted at the weekend when an audio clip of Keys and Gray mocking female assistant referee Sian Massey and declaring “women don’t know the offside rule” while off-air was published by a Sunday newspaper.

Gray was sacked on Tuesday after filmed footage emerged of him appearing to make suggestive remarks to fellow presented Charlotte Jackson. And pressure mounted on Keys when a clip was leaked of him making lewd comments about a former girlfriend of pundit Jamie Redknapp.

Keys appeared live on talkSPORT radio yesterday where he said he had been surprised by the uproar and hinted at a conspiracy to oust him.

“We were wrong. It was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened, but there are some dark forces at work here,” said Keys, who insisted he had phoned Massey to say sorry on Sunday. “I can’t believe the frenzy that’s blown up. If I had been able to get out that I’d apologised on Sunday I don’t think it would have been as frenzied as it has been.”

As Twitter was flooded with posts criticising Keys for a lack of contrition, he added: “With success comes envy. The clips are fairly selective. They have targeted two individuals. There is a row going on over phone tapping at the moment. What’s the difference?”

Keys also said he had phoned Karren Brady to apologise for unguarded comments he made about her, but that the West Ham vice-chairman had failed to answer his calls.