Sunderland chief gives backing to Scudamore

Margaret Byrne.
Margaret Byrne.
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SUNDERLAND chief executive Margaret Byrne has backed the Premier League’s decision to keep under-fire Richard Scudamore at the helm.

Scudamore has been under mounting pressure after it was revealed he made sexist comments in emails.

But the Premier League announced that no further action will be taken against its chief executive, who has already apologised for the comments.

That has been backed by Byrne, who said: “Following on from the statement released by the Premier League, I wholeheartedly endorse the decision made today and I am delighted that common sense has prevailed.

“Richard made a mistake, for which he apologised both swiftly and unreservedly.

“All too often, external organisations or individuals try to exert pressure, when they are not privy to facts of cases.

“I work on an on-going basis with the Premier League, both as chief executive of one of its member clubs and as part of its legal advisory group.

“I have never encountered any discrimination based on my gender and in my regular dealings with Richard he has always acted in a professional manner.

“Premier League clubs were united in their support for him - something he totally deserved - and we should all now move on from this.

“I wish Richard and his family well after what I’m sure has been an exceptionally difficult time for them.”

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady insisted that Scudamore “is categorically not sexist” - but said that she was disappointed to learn of the emails he had sent.

The 17 Premier League clubs - not including the three that were relegated - decided against any further disciplinary action against Scudamore after hearing he had apologised.

Brady said: “Obviously myself and the clubs are disappointed at what they have seen and heard, but no more so than Richard himself.

“He has served not only the Premier League, but the wider game over the last 17 years and very few have done more, in my opinion, to open up football, to support women in the game and take the whole anti-discrimination agenda forward.

“I have known Richard for 20 years and he is categorically not sexist.

“We have unanimously accepted his apology and contrition at face value, and now we move on to ensuring more is delivered under Richard’s tenure going forward.”

The head of anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, Lord Herman Ouseley, claimed the Premier League’s process in dealing with Scudamore was “flawed”.

Ouseley said: “Richard Scudamore is one of the most successful and powerful men in world football. The outcome of today’s proceedings into the revealed emails and their contents leaves the status quo intact.

“The process adopted by the Premier League is a flawed one and there was only ever going to be one outcome. It is incumbent on the Premier League to put in place a proper, objective, fair and independent process for dealing with such important matters in future.”