Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Football chief is offside with his sexism

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore

Like so many men who express sexist views, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore seems more sorry that he got caught than sorry for what he said.

The apology he's made over sexually explicit emails, in which he referred to women becoming "irrational" after having children, just isn't an apology.

"I accept the contents are inappropriate and apologise for any offence caused," Scudamore said. "It was an error of judgment that I will not make again."

But it's not clear whether the error of judgment was in his view of women, or that the view was exchanged over email.

The episode has – predictably – been met with the argument that these were personal emails and, therefore, Scudamore's views don't interfere with his job.

The story goes that you can call women whatever names you like in your personal life and it needn't have any bearing on how you conduct your professional life. But that's just nonsense.

There isn't a sexism-amnesia formula misogynists can take when they go to work; the effects wearing off just in time to let them send personal emails full of their actual views of women.

Scudamore, as boss of the Premier League, is responsible for promoting equality in football. It's up to him to support efforts to 'kick out sexism' from the game.

How can he do this when he willingly shares such nasty and offensive views of women? You cannot be a champion for women's equality in your professional life and discuss women in these offensive terms in your personal life.

After all, a recent survey showed that two-thirds of women employed in football had experienced discrimination.

Meanwhile, Sue Tibballs, former head of the Women's Sports and Fitness Federation, called the Premier League's support for women's sports a "nonsense" and Scudamore a "dinosaur".

It's not enough for Scudamore and the Premier League to talk the talk about raising the profile of women's football in front of the cameras. Not when the man responsible holds such sexist and mocking views of women.

A man who happily exchanges emails where women are dehumanised should not be in charge of promoting equality anywhere.

Women Premier League footballers and wannabe footballers deserve a boss who sees them as fully human.

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