Woman ref has the last laugh

LONDON - Amy Fearn has become the first woman to referee an English football league match, three years after her involvement in the game was denounced by a manager as "tokenism for politically correct idiots".

LONDON - Amy Fearn has become the first woman to referee an English football league match, three years after her involvement in the game was denounced by a manager as "tokenism for politically correct idiots".

Fearn's chance to make history came after 71 minutes of Coventry City's 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, when the original referee, Tony Bates, limped off with a calf injury.

Fearn, who had been running the line, took the whistle while the fourth official stood in for her.

Fearn first made headlines in 2006 when Mike Newell, then the manager of Luton, took exception to her performance on the line in his club's defeat by Queen's Park Rangers.

"She shouldn't be here," Newell fumed. "I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist." Newell apologised but was fined £6500 (R78000) by the FA. - Sapa-AFP

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