Premier League defends workplace in wake of Richard Scudamore emails
The Premier League has defended its working environment after the woman who blew the whistle on sexist emails sent by the chief executive,Richard Scudamore, said she was “humiliated, belittled and disgusted” when reading the messages.
Rani Abraham, who worked as a temporary personal assistant for Scudamore, told the Sunday Mirror: “This is not the sort of thing that goes on in offices these days.”
It comes after the Football Association’s independent board member Heather Rabbatts, who will chair a meeting of its inclusion advisory board to discuss the case on Tuesday, issued a statement saying Scudamore should consider his position in light of “growing evidence of a closed culture of sexism” at the Premier League.
In a statement, the Premier League said a review of the matter was under way before a meeting by its audit and remuneration committee on Monday. The statement read: “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.
“This process is not yet concluded and it is therefore not possible to offer comments in detail at this stage. However we will make a further statement in due course. The Premier League continues to be fully committed to treating all staff fairly and on merit, regardless of gender.”
The emails referred to women in a derogatory terms, contained sexual innuendos and made jokes about “female irrationality”.
Abraham felt she had a duty to speak out about the contents of emails between her boss and his lawyer friend.
“Mr Scudamore has a huge amount of influence and is paid a vast sum of money and has behaved wrongly,” she said. “Having witnessed that I felt I had a duty to speak out. If I didn’t then I’d somehow be condoning his behaviour – just like the other people who saw those messages.
“Despite what some people have said since the Sunday Mirror printed the story last week, this is not the sort of thing that goes on in offices these days.
“And for those people who’ve attacked me for saying they were just ‘jokes’ I wonder how they would feel if their wife or girlfriend or daughter had to read messages like that. And how would they feel if those messages were written about their wife or girlfriend or daughter?”
Since the story was first reported a week ago, a number of female England internationals have expressed their outrage at the emails and the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, called them “totally inappropriate”.
The Premier League’s main sponsor, Barclays, has expressed its disappointment, which has raised the stakes before Monday’s meeting of the league’s audit and remuneration committee, chaired by the Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck.
Buck is a friend and shooting partner of Scudamore’s but the committee only has the power to make a recommendation and consists of four members, the others being the Manchester United director David Gill, the Stoke chairman, Peter Coates, and the Premier League referees’ chairman, John Williams.