THE woman who blew the whistle on sexist e-mails sent by the chief executive of the English Premier League said she was “humiliated, belittled and disgusted” when reading the messages.
The e-mails sent by Richard Scudamore referred to women in derogatory terms, contained sexual innuendos and made jokes about “female irrationality”.
Rani Abraham, who worked as a temporary personal assistant for Mr Scudamore said she felt she had a duty to speak out about the e-mails between her boss and his lawyer friend.
Ms Abraham said: “Mr Scudamore has a huge amount of influence and is paid a vast sum of money and has behaved wrongly. 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.”
She added: “And for those people who have attacked me for saying they were just ‘jokes’ I wonder how they would feel if… those messages were written about their wife or girlfriend or daughter?”
The e-mails contained a slang word for female genitalia and jokes about “big t****d broads” and women’s “irrationality”.
Another message referred to fending off a female member of staff nicknamed Edna and there was a reference to a woman being a “double decker”.
Sports Minister Helen Grant hit out at the comments, saying: “I found the content of those e-mails completely unacceptable and very disappointing, particularly at a time when there is so much good work and progress being made promoting women’s sport.”
The Football Association’s independent board member Heather Rabbatts issued a statement at the weekend saying Mr Scudamore should consider his position in light of “growing evidence of a closed culture of sexism” at the Premier League.
Ms Rabbatts will chair a meeting of the FA’s inclusion advisory board to discuss the case tomorrow.
A Premier League statement said: “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 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. The Premier League continues to be fully committed to treating all staff fairly and on merit, regardless of gender.”
A number of England women internationals have expressed outrage at the e-mails and FA chairman Greg Dyke called them “totally inappropriate”.
Sponsor Barclays has expressed its disappointment, which has raised the stakes ahead of today’s meeting of the league’s audit and remuneration committee, chaired by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck. Mr Buck is a friend of Mr Scudamore’s, but the committee only has the power to make a recommendation and consists of four members, the others being Manchester United director David Gill, Stoke chairman Peter Coates and Premier League referees’ chairman John Williams.