Scudamore contrite about emails
5:54pm Monday 19th May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has spoken of his "sincere contrition" after the top-flight clubs decided against any further disciplinary action against him for sending sexist emails.
Scudamore has vowed to hold a series of meetings across football's administration to reassure them of his commitment to promote women in the game.
A meeting of all the Premier League clubs was called at short notice on Sunday night to bring the case to a conclusion after pressure on Scudamore intensified during last week.
The meeting in London decided against any action after hearing that the emails "did include some inappropriate remarks" but that he had apologised.
Afterwards, Scudamore said: "Entering into email exchanges of this nature was wrong and the apology I have made is sincere, as is the contrition I feel. These exchanges do not reflect my views towards women in football, the workplace or in general. It is something that will never be repeated.
"I appreciate that I have a tremendous amount of hard work to do to convince those in the game who do not know me that my leadership and work in the areas of equality and discrimination to date reflect who I am and what I believe.
"So, I will now undertake meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders in the game to hear their views and to reassure them that I will continue to do my utmost personally, and through all the Premier League's means to help promote diversity and inclusion, develop the women's game and support women who want be involved in football at any level."
Premier League acting chairman Peter McCormick said he had conducted an investigation into the matter in conjunction with specially-appointed external legal advisors and that the clubs accepted Scudamore's "genuine and sincere apology".
McCormick said a female senior executive at the Premier League referred to in the emails had been copied in the exchanges and has confirmed that she "was not then and is not now offended by the references".
The emails - which referred to women in a derogatory terms, contained sexual innuendoes, and made jokes about "female irrationality" - were leaked by Scudamore's former temporary personal assistant, Rani Abraham, to the Sunday Mirror.
McCormick said she "was not exposed to them in the course of her duties but had to search for them in a private email account which she was not authorised to access".
The case caused a storm of criticism of Scudamore and it is to be discussed by the Football Association's inclusion advisory board on Tuesday.
Initially, the Premier League's audit and remuneration committee had been lined up to discuss the case, but on Sunday night a decision was taken to call a specially-convened meeting of all member clubs for Monday afternoon.
McCormick's statement said: "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."
He said the investigation had examined numerous emails and other documents, including those copied by Abraham, and that there was "no evidence of wider discriminatory attitudes or inappropriate language or a general attitude of disrespect to women".
Women who work at the Premier League were also consulted, said McCormick, which established "that there is no climate of disrespect of women in the workplace".
He added: "This view is particularly strongly held by female staff with direct experience of working with or close to the chief executive who have made it very clear that his conduct and behaviour have been beyond reproach."