Hit or Miss? Premier League reacts to sexism furore over CEO's leaked emails

The organisation behind the top division of English football has been under pressure after a PA leaked emails in which chief executive Richard Scudamore mocked "female irrationality".

Richard Scudamore: backed by the Premier League
Richard Scudamore: backed by the Premier League

The story broke in the Sunday Mirror on 4 May after Scudamore's former temporary PA Rani Abraham gave the paper emails from Scudamore's work account between him and a male lawyer that included jokes about "skinny big-titted broads" and "cash for gash".

The Premier League and the Football Association have decided that Scudamore should not face disciplinary action, but has the Premier League's handling of the situation dispelled the impression some people have that it is a sexist organisation?

How I See It

Rebecca Hopkins, MD, ENS

In most crises, the Premier League starts on the back foot because many people believe football to be inherently prejudiced. Whenever there is a transgression, the rush to jump on the ‘outraged’ bandwagon is dizzying.

You don’t agree? Why, when a lawyer was also involved in the controversy, have law firms’ attitudes not been called into question? Regardless, the Premier League didn’t help itself.

The classic crisis management approach of responding quickly and apologising was clearly followed, but the strategy was undone by the paucity of Scudamore’s statement. Sniping about the inappropriate actions of a temp and tagging ‘sorry’ on the end isn’t going to convince people that you are mortified, contrite or suffering from a momentary lapse of reason.

The curious and ill-advised support statement from a ‘Premier League source’ did little to help either. Not only did it create more news needlessly, referencing Frankie Howerd by way of an explanation was meaningless to anyone under the age of 35, and to everyone else it was hardly an illustration of modern, enlightened thinking.

The hardest part of managing situations like these is that so many people will comment, extending the shelf life of the story exponentially. What the Premier League is doing now is all it can do: sit it out until it goes away.

 

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