DLA partner in Scudamore scandal: “I let myself, my firm and its clients down”

DLA Piper partner Nick West has apologised for failing to uphold professional standards after being found to have exchanged sexist emails with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore in revelations last week.

Following a review into the incident a DLA Piper spokesperson said: “We have concluded that there was a failure to meet the high professional standards in which we take pride as a firm, whilst recognising that these were emails exchanged between friends and accessed without permission.”

West was identified as the recipient of the emails in an article in the Daily Mail on 15 May. The article said West had been working with Scudamore on the Premier League’s TV deals since 2000 (16 May 2014).

The statement continued: “We have accepted Mr West’s assurances that these emails are not reflective of his beliefs and values and that there will be no recurrence of this behaviour.” 

West said: “I sincerely apologise for my actions. In sending the emails in question I let myself, my firm and its clients down. I have an obligation to uphold the highest professional standards and I give my assurance that this will be the case going forward.”

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”.

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 and added: “The FA remains wholly committed to promoting diversity and will continue to work on challenging discrimination and developing future women leaders.”

The incident was reviewed by the acting chairman of the Premier League Peter McCormick and presented to the clubs in a general meeting on Monday (19 May).

Berwin Leighton Paisner sports and media partner Graham Shear speculated last week that the issue would be “handled quite carefully” to avoid destabilising the Premier League.

“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.