Saturday 14 December 2019

Leaked emails legal threat claim

Richard Scudamore has spoken of his 'sincere contrition' over sending sexist emails
Richard Scudamore has spoken of his 'sincere contrition' over sending sexist emails

Rani Abraham, the former temporary personal assistant who leaked sexist emails sent by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, has claimed she has been threatened with legal action by the organisation.

Abraham said she received lawyers' letters after taking the emails to the Sunday Mirror and was herself now considering taking legal action against the organisation.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: "When I approached the Mirror I received a letter from the Premier League's lawyers threatening legal action, they said there had been a breach of trust, it was a very threatening letter, I have had a couple now, and I believe the Premier League are trying to scare me.

"I won't go quiet because I am standing up for what I believe in.

"I haven't taken legal action but I am speaking to a solicitor at the moment."

Abraham said she was disappointed and surprised the Premier League clubs had decided not to sanction Scudamore.

Abraham said: "I'm highly surprised the Premier League have decided to take no sanctions whatsoever against Richard Scudamore.

"I feel very disappointed, I think it sends out a damaging message about how we regard women in football."

Abraham said she had not been contacted as part of the league's investigation.

She added: "They haven't approached me, they haven't heard my side of the story so there has not been a thorough investigation. I honestly think they are not taking the sexism seriously."

The Premier League would not comment on Abraham's latest claims. It is understood however that she was asked to return the copies of the emails she had taken as they contained confidential and commercially sensitive information.

Scudamore spoke of his "sincere contrition" after the top-flight clubs decided against any disciplinary action against him and vowed to hold a series of meetings across football's administration to reassure them of his commitment to promote women in the game.

Premier League acting chairman Peter McCormick said he had conducted an investigation into the matter in conjunction with 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 referred to women in a derogatory terms, contained sexual innuendoes, and made jokes about "female irrationality".

The Premier League said Abraham had not been authorised to read the emails, something she denies.

McCormick said Abraham "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 later on Tuesday.

The pressure group Women in Football claimed the Premier League had missed an opportunity.

A statement said: ''Women in Football is disappointed that the Premier League has missed a significant opportunity to demonstrate a strong commitment to equality in the workplace.

''In not recommending action - in any form whatsoever - it will be extremely difficult for women working in the industry to feel reassured that this issue has been adequately addressed."

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