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By ESPN Staff

Jewell hits back at sexism claim

Paul Jewell has vehemently denied that his criticism of assistant referee Amy Fearn following Ipswich's defeat to Birmingham on Wednesday night contained a sexist remark.

Ipswich manager Jewell has been criticised by the referees' trades union Prospect on Thursday who said his remarks were "clearly sexist''.

Jewell said after the match, in response to the comment 'I think everyone to a man thought it was a penalty': "Unfortunately to every man, but not a woman. Although the referee didn't have a good view, I thought the lineswoman, or whatever she's called, had a great view.''

Now Jewell has hit back saying he does not expect any action from the Football Association - and will fight any charge if it does arrive.

He told Ipswich's official website: "I absolutely refute suggestions that my comments were made in a sexist way.

"The opening line from a journalist at the start of the press conference was 'I think everyone to a man thought that was a penalty' and I responded by saying 'but not to a woman', meaning the official that was on that side and didn't give the decision.

"I didn't suggest in any way that the official made a mistake because she was a woman. I don't think what I said was sexist and will argue all day long with anyone that says it is.''

Jewell said his remark about "a lineswoman, or whatever she's called'' was "a reference to the officials who run the line now being known as assistant referees''.

He added: "I'm not expecting any comeback from the authorities and would be disappointed if there is but if that arrives, I will defend it vehemently and will have the full support of the club in doing that.''

Jewell has the support of Ipswich chief executive Simon Clegg who has listened to the tape of the press conference.

Alan Leighton, national secretary of the union Prospect, insisted however that Jewell was wrong to mention Fearn's gender.

He told BBC Radio 5: "The comments are clearly sexist and there is no place for them in football. They are sexist because they are based on her gender rather than her performance as an official.

"If she had been a man clearly there wouldn't have been comments made about the gender of the individual concerned.''

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