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Jan 26, 2011

Keys resigns, blames 'dark forces'

Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has resigned for his role in the sexism row that has also seen Andy Gray axed by the broadcaster, having said "dark forces" were at work in a lengthy radio interview on Wednesday.

• Podcast: The sexism debate
• Sky Sports sacks Gray
Sky drops Gray and Keys
Reporter Burton 'stood down' by Sky

Speaking to talkSPORT, Keys admitted he was considering his future following the comments he made about assistant referee Sian Massey and indeed that there was a "a probability or a possibility" that he too would be sacked, but then chose to resign later on Wednesday.

Keys said in a statement released by Sky Sports: ''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.

''Going forward without Andy would have been almost impossible. I am and will remain proud of our work with football at Sky Sports and grateful to the many people who have worked with me. I wish Sky Sports continued success in the future.''

Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: ''It is disappointing that Richard's career at Sky should end in these circumstances. However, Richard recognises that his comments at the weekend were unacceptable and we note that he has made a full and public apology. We thank him for his time in helping make Sky Sports the success it is today.''

Both Keys and Gray were recorded making derogatory comments about Massey prior to the game between Liverpool and Wolves on Saturday as they suggested she did not know the offside rule. Subsequent videos were leaked that cast the pair in an unflattering light, leading to Gray being sacked by the broadcaster on Tuesday after footage was released of him making inappropriate comments to fellow presenter Charlotte Jackson.

Keys had earlier made a public apology for his own comments and conduct on Wednesday and said that he had been prevented from doing so any earlier.

Keys told talkSPORT: "There are some dark forces at work here. I apologised on the Sunday. I realised how deeply wrong we were. Having done that I asked 'could we make people aware of the fact we had a conversation and that both parties felt it was right to move on'. I was told 'no'.

"Then 24 hours had passed, by which time the world had gone mad. I don't know why I was told 'no' and stopped from telling people what I had done. What we said was wrong. There is no place for it in a modern workplace."

Keys was clearly frustrated that his telephone apology to Massey was not made public until Monday evening, rather than Sunday afternoon, when he made the call. He further explained that he had tried to contact Karren Brady after making comments critical of the West Ham official.

"I tried to ring Karren twice on Sunday night," Keys said. "I tried to ring her to apologise and she didn't take my call."

Keys also responded to England captain Rio Ferdinand, who critcised the comments made by Gray and Keys on his Twitter page.

"I noticed he tweeted and said what we said was pre-historic - but are you saying it does not happen in the Manchester United dressing room?" added Keys. "My information is that it does."

Gray also said he had intended to publicly apologise on Monday night, as he released a statement expressing regret for the series of events.

He said in a statement: "I am very sorry that certain comments made by me have caused offence. Such comments were made off air to work colleagues, and were of course never intended to be broadcast. I was very upset when the comments were brought to my attention, and it was my intention to apologise on Monday night when I was back on air for the Bolton v Chelsea game. Sadly I was unable to do so as I was suspended from the show by Sky Sports and have now been sacked.

"Football is my life and I am devastated by losing the job that I love. I am equally upset that third parties have been dragged into this issue."

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