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Volume 6 No. 213

International Football

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore "has apologised for his 'inappropriate' emails containing sexist language that were leaked" to Britain's Daily Mirror by his former personal assistant, according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. In a statement, Scudamore said, "I accept the contents are inappropriate and apologise for any offence caused, particularly to the former employee. It was an error of judgment that I will not make again. These were private emails exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years. They were received from and sent to my private and confidential email address, which a temporary employee who was with the organisation for only a matter of weeks should not have accessed and was under no instruction to do so." Scudamore was due to speak on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday morning but canceled the appointment for "legal reasons" following the publication of the story in the Sunday Mirror (REUTERS, 5/11). In London, Matthew Drake reported Scudamore's former PA said that his emails "were sent to her ­automatically while she was working for him at the Premier League last October so she could arrange his diary." She said, "I can tell you he has no respect for women. I don’t think anyone should have to be exposed to such language and opinions at work. It was highly offensive. The emails portrayed women in a very derogatory manner. I have worked for very professional organizations and never seen anything like it. That’s why it shocked me." Scudamore’s "slurs come after a survey this year found more than two-thirds of women working in football have ­experienced sexism." His former ­PA added, "I think people should know about this man’s attitude to women and the communications he is prepared to make from his work email" (DAILY MIRROR, 5/10).

FACING THE FALLOUT: ESPN reported Scudamore "is facing calls for an investigation into his position." Women in Football, a group aiming to improve women's representation in the game, said it was "shocked" by the reports. A group spokesperson said, "We expect the Premier League to conduct a full and proper investigation. Sexism, as with racism and homophobia, is not acceptable in the workplace" (ESPN, 5/11). The BBC reported former U.K. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said that Scudamore "has undermined his support for women's football." Jowell said the comments were "incredibly disappointing" and "unacceptable." She added, "You can't have one position publicly and then be laughing privately." Jowell: "In the world of social media and email, there is no public and private. I think what Richard needs to reflect on, and I think he's a decent man, is the disconnect between what he thinks privately and what he has tried to achieve publicly" (BBC, 5/11). In London, Matt Law reported Scudamore "has no plans to review his position or step down after being forced to apologise for a series of leaked emails." The EPL has "no plans to comment or take the issue further and, along with Scudamore, now consider the matter closed." They "are confident there are no more damaging emails that will come to light" (TELEGRAPH, 5/11).

SCUDAMORE BOOED: In London, Dan Warburton noted Scudamore was "booed by City fans as he presented Premier medals" to players following Man City's Premier League title-clinching victory. In his first public appearance since his apology, Scudamore "appeared grimfaced" (DAILY MIRROR, 5/11).

Man City’s coronation as Premier League champions on Sunday "will be shrouded in controversy," with FA Chair Greg Dyke declaring it “pretty depressing” that the side regularly features only two Englishmen and UEFA "about to improse severe penalties" on the club for Financial Fair Play violations, according to Herbert & Moore of the London INDEPENDENT. Dyke: “The Premiership has been brilliant, but I think there are probably two [regular] England players at City and two or three at Chelsea, although there won’t be that many next year. That’s pretty depressing” (INDEPENDENT, 5/10). In London, Jason Burt reported this was the first time Man City won two domestic trophies. However, Joe Hart is the only Englishman in City's strongest starting 11, as opposed to Liverpool with five. Dyke: "Liverpool have been exciting this year with four or five English players.'' Man City Manager Manuel Pellegrini, though, "has defended the club's recruitment." Pellegrini: "We have a very important squad and it's not easy to buy English players. If you want to buy a player from Liverpool, Tottenham or Arsenal or Chelsea, I don't know how much it would cost and I'm sure the teams will not sell. It's a high cost and we now have the rules of Financial Fair Play so it will be more difficult to pay more money for players and we need high quality" (TELEGRAPH, 5/11). REUTERS' Ian Ransom reported Dyke said Premier League club owners "were wondering why they would throw money into academies to develop home-grown talent when so few locals were breaking into first teams." Dyke: "What do they care about? A lot of them, because they're spending a lot of money on academy programs, are saying: 'But hang on, what am I getting back for this?'" (REUTERS, 5/10).

TITLE TOWN: In London, Henry Winter reported Man City fans held aloft a banner declaring “Oops we did it again” to celebrate their second title in three years. The fans "streamed onto the pitch at the end, celebrating with the players, taking selfies, pleading for souvenirs of shirts." Pellegrini talked of Man City’s “flair,” and of football being “an entertainment business” (TELEGRAPH, 5/11).

PARADE PLANNED: In Manchester, Jennifer Williams reported more than 100,000 "are expected to congregate in the city centre" for Man City's title parade on Monday. Beginning at 5pm local time, the Blues "will gather on-stage in Albert Square, which will be decked out with big screens as it was in 2012." Players "will then set off on their open-top victory bus down Mount Street, moving through the gathered crowds down Peter Street, Deansgate and Cateaton Street -- before ending up in Exchange Square." The three-hour procession, "which also celebrates the club’s Capital One Cup triumph back in March, will be followed by a squad trip to Abu Dhabi, so players can show off their new trophy in the club chairman’s native country" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 5/11).

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said that clubs "can look forward to a bigger financial pot from the outcome of eagerly awaited television rights renegotiations," insisting that they "would not waste it on another spiral of excessive spending," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Man City, crowned champions on Sunday, brought to a close a season in which the league’s 20 clubs "have enjoyed the fruits of a vastly improved three-year deal" with broadcasters worth £5.5B ($9.3B). Winning the league "has soared in value." Liverpool, which finished second, will earn more than £90M ($152M). Last season’s champions, ManU, earned £60.8M, "roughly the same amount this season’s bottom club" -- Cardiff City, Fulham or Norwich City -- will make. Next year’s rights renegotiations for '16-17 onward "will see the pie grow again as the league’s profile across 175 countries climbs." Scudamore: "I sit here not complacent but optimistic that we’ve still got very significant growth potential yet to realize." Scudamore is "very encouraged" by the size of the league’s overseas TV audience. He said the U.S. has had "a breakthrough moment," while audiences in India -- a market dominated by cricket -- "are up almost a third." The "lingering impression is of a season in which the Premier League has become a very large commercial operation." The season "began against a backdrop of fan protests at ticket prices." It ends with the Premier League reporting stadium occupancy at 95.8%, a record (FT, 5/9).

FIFA President Sepp Blatter "has performed a U-turn on his pledge" not to stand for a fifth term, claiming that "his mission at the governing body is not yet complete," according to Tom Vickers of the LONDON TIMES. Blatter "will see his present mandate come to an end in 2015." He had stated that "his latest four-year stint would be his last but the Swiss now says he will run for re-election again next May." Blatter said, "I’m a candidate again. My mandate has ended but my mission is not finished. The election will be held in 2015." Blatter, as recently as last year, suggested that "he would not be seeking a fifth term in office," naming UEFA President Michel Platini and Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President and FIFA and UEFA VP Ángel Maria Villar as possible successors. Blatter: “The most important thing for me is that the person who takes over FIFA does so with the spirit of globalization of soccer that we have developed in recent years” (LONDON TIMES, 5/9). The BBC reported the election "will be held in Zurich in June next year." FIFA VP Jeffrey Webb and former Deputy General Secretary Jerome Champagne have been tipped as alternatives to Blatter as a future FIFA president, but both have said that "they would not stand in opposition to the current incumbent" (BBC, 5/9).

A match between Russian Premier League side Zenit St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow on Sunday "was abandoned after Zenit fans invaded the pitch and one of them attacked an opposition player." Dynamo led 4-2 in St. Petersburg when the pitch invasion began in the 87th minute, "a result that would hit Zenit's hopes of winning the Russian Premier League title if it stands" (AP, 5/11). ... A delegation from FIFA will arrive in Egypt on Monday "for a two-day mission to examine allegations of government interference in football" (AHRAM, 5/8). ... Serie A side Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono "condemned the actions of a fan who threw a banana towards AC Milan defender Kevin Constant" during his side's 2-1 win over the Rosssoneri on Sunday (ESPN, 5/11). ... League Championship side Leeds United is taking the "unprecedented step" of temporarily closing its training ground at Thorp Arch "as part of attempts by new owner Massimo Cellino to cut the club’s costs" (London DAILY MAIL, 5/9).