19 May 2014

Richard Scudamore: no further action over sexist emails

The Premier League says its chief executive Richard Scudamore will face “no further disciplinary action” for sending sexist emails.

The announcement was made following a meeting of the Premier League’s audit and remuneration committee and 17 of the 20 Premier League clubs.

The committee and clubs decided against further action after hearing the emails “did include some inappropriate remarks”, but that he had apologised.

Peter McCormick, the Premier League’s acting chairman, said in a statement: “In these circumstances, and in the light of a previously unblemished record over 15 years of service to the Premier League, the clubs resolved unanimously that no further disciplinary action is required or justified.”

Mr Scudamore has been under fire over the past week for the publication of derogatory emails sent from his Premier League account.

The Premier League was forced to defend itself after the woman who blew the whistle on Mr Scudamore said she was “humiliated, belittled and disgusted” by the messages between the 54-year-old and his business associates.

Rani Abraham, 41, told the Sunday Mirror: “I feel the public had a right to know.”

“If I didn’t then I’d somehow be condoning his behaviour”, the former personal assistant said.

The emails referred to female colleagues using offensive words and phrases, and made jokes about “female irrationality”.

The Premier League, however, said it remained committed to treating all staff fairly. In a statement the league added: “We do not recognise this characterisation of the working environment at the Premier League, nor do we believe that it can be supported by the facts.

“The chief executive has already apologised for any offence caused and a proper review of all the evidence is now under way within the Premier League’s established and rigorous procedures.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore (L) and Minister of Sport and Equalities Helen Grant

Since the story was made public a week ago, FA chairman Greg Dyke described the comments as “pretty horrible remarks that didn’t need to be said”.

Football Association board member Heather Rabbatts, who will chair a FA inclusion advisory board (IAB) on Tuesday to examine the case, accused the Premier League of having a “closed culture of sexism”.

Meanwhile, a Downing Street spokesman said Prime Minister David Cameron shared the view expressed by sports minister Helen Grant that it was “unacceptable” but that it was up to the Premier League to decide his future.

England Ladies goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis told BBC Sport that the jokes were an “insult to all women”. Brown-Finnis said she was “disappointed” and that it was “worthy of being sanctioned”.

The league has also come under severe pressure from its main sponsor Barclays, which is understood to have registered its “deep disappointment” over the emails. Barclays’ £40m a year deal is due to run until the end of 2016.

The boss of the Premier League took over as chief executive in 1999. He has helped make the Premier League the most lucrative in the work with global TV rights worth more than £5bn over three years.