Head of English Premier League forced to apologise over sexist emails

The boss of the English Premier League, widely viewed as the most powerful administrator in English football, has been forced to apologise after it was revealed he sent a series of sexist emails disparaging women and mocking "female irrationality".

Richard Scudamore exchanged the crude messages with senior colleagues which were revealed by a former PA who received them when she was working for the league last year.

‘No respect for women’
She was quoted by the Mirrror newspaper as saying “I can tell you he has no respect for women.

“I don’t think anyone should have to be exposed to such language and opinions at work.

“It was highly offensive. The emails portrayed women in a very derogatory manner. I have worked for very professional organisations and never seen anything like it. That’s why it shocked me.”

In one message, Scudamore mocked a former girlfriend, in another he talked about a woman colleague to a lawyer who works for the League.

League claim to be at ‘leading edge of equality’
Scudamore has in the past said the league strives to be at ‘the leading edge’ of the ‘whole equality agenda’.

In a statement issued to the media he apologised saying sending the emails was an ‘error of judgement’.

He said: “These were private emails exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years.

“They were received from and sent to my private and confidential email address, which a temporary employee who was with the organisation for only a matter of weeks, should not have accessed and was under no instruction to do so.

“Nonetheless I accept the contents are inappropriate and apologise for any offence caused, particularly to the former employee. It was an error of judgement that I will not make again.”

‘Time to kick sexism out of football’
Maya Dodd the FIFA Executive Committee member echoed the feelings of many women when she told the Guardian, "It is disappointing to see how women are spoken about when people think no one is listening or watching".

"This kind of discrimination shouldn't be tolerated and football should take the lead. We need to say: 'This is not OK.' We need to take sexism as seriously as we take racism."

Shadow Equalities Minister Gloria de Piero said: “No one should use deeply offensive language like this. Football is a family game, with many women supporters, players and referees. It’s time to kick sexism out of football.”

The UK Sports Minister Helen Grant said, “I found the content of the emails completely unacceptable & very disappointing.

“I am determined to do all I can to help tackle all forms of discrimination in sport.”

‘With power comes responsibility’
The Women in Football, a campaigning group said, “The comments have yet again proved that we are a long way from equality; we will only rid football of sexism when the authorities send out the right messages from the top down.

“With power comes responsibility… Women in Football calls on the Premier League and the Football Association to conduct a full and proper investigation and to strengthen their commitment to ensuring gender equality across the game.”

FA position
The English FA issued a statement from Chairman Greg Dyke, saying that no action would be taken, “We note the reported comments of Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore at the weekend, and his subsequent apology.

“This remains a matter for the Premier League to consider.”

The FA’s position derives from a distinction between public and private comments, although commentators have pointed out the FA’s official handbook makes no specific differentiation between public and private discriminatory behaviour.

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