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DLA Piper is investigating the email exchanges of media sport lawyer Nick West and Premier League boss Richard Scudamore after the Sunday Mirror revealed them to contain sexist remarks this week.
The emails, which were leaked to the tabloid newspaper by Scudamore’s former personal assistant, are believed to have been exchanged over a period of several months and contain sexist jokes and slurs relating to female colleagues.
A DLA Piper spokesperson said: “We uphold the highest professional standards as a firm and this matter is being fully investigated.”
West was identified as the recipient of the email in an article in the Daily Mail yesterday. The article said West had been working with Scudamore on the Premier League’s TV deals since 2000.
According to the Mail, in one of the emails Scudamore referred to the Premier League’s Australian planning and projects director Peta Bistany as “Edna”, going on to advise West to ‘keep [her] off your shaft”.
Scudamore responded in a statement on Sunday which said the emails were “private” and “exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years”.
He continued: “[The emails] 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.”
According to the Mail the emails came from the same premierleague.com address that his notice to colleagues about the revelations came from.
The statement concluded: “Nonetheless I accept the contents are inappropriate and apologise for any offence caused, particularly to the former employee. It was an error of judgement that I will not make again.”
Earlier this week FA chairman Greg Dyke said Scudamore’s comments and his subsequent apology had been noted but that it was a matter for the Premier League to consider.
He added: “The FA remains wholly committed to promoting diversity and will continue to work on challenging discrimination and developing future women leaders.”
The case is due to go before the Premier League’s Audit and Remuneration Committee, chaired by founding managing partner of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and current Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck.
Berwin Leighton Paisner sports and media partner Graham Shear described Buck as “super sensible and very realistic”.
“It will be handled quite carefully, they won’t want to destabilise the Premier League but they will want to be seen to be acting appropriately and proportionately. I think if they deem it appropriate to take action, it’ll be quite conservative,” Shear added.