Rabbatts: FA will meet with PL

  • Last Updated: May 21 2014, 7:45 BST

The Football Association may not be able to take action against Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore for sending sexist e-mails, but the governing body can lead the battle for equality in the workplace, according to chair of its inclusion advisory board Heather Rabbatts.

Heather Rabbatts: Wants 'environment that positively welcomes women'
Heather Rabbatts: Wants 'environment that positively welcomes women'

FA chairman Greg Dyke met his counterpart at the Premier League, Peter McCormick, for talks on Tuesday over the issue after the top-flight clubs decided to take no action against Scudamore.

One member of the FA's inclusion advisory board (IAB), equality campaigner Edward Lord, has obtained a legal opinion that the FA could take disciplinary action, but in a statement, Dyke reaffirmed that will not take place.

IAB chair Rabbatts, was also at the meeting with acting chairman McCormick, and will take on the task of ensuring the Premier League keeps to its "undertaking to take further steps on inclusion and diversity".

Rabbatts hopes the high-profile nature of the concerns from Rani Abraham, the former temporary personal assistant to Scudamore who leaked the emails, can keep the drive for equality on track.

Speaking ahead of the Kick It Out 20th anniversary dinner at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening, she said: "Sexism is still we know a major problem across the entirety of the game and this debate has underlined that.

"It is about taking some very real steps that underline it is absolutely the right of every woman to be respected and treated with dignity in the work place.

"What this debate has done has empowered so many people to come forward and raise this issue.

"We will be meeting further with the Premier League to look at what steps need to be taken.

"What we now need to do in terms of working with the Premier League is that the environment, whether it is in the Premier League or any other football environment, positively welcomes women."

In his statement earlier on Tuesday, Dyke had reiterated the FA's stance over what exactly its remit covered.

"Last week, the FA made it clear that Mr Scudamore was not an employee of the Football Association and, as such, we had no position in terms of employment policy or taking disciplinary action," he said.

"We were of the view that was a matter for the Premier League and we asked them to keep us informed of the actions they were taking.

"In terms of wider FA disciplinary action, we were advised that the FA does not as a matter of policy consider private communications sent with a legitimate expectation of privacy to amount to professional misconduct.

"The FA has applied this policy on an ongoing basis and in relation to numerous other cases."

Dyke said McCormick has assured him the league had followed "proper process under their own employment and disciplinary rules and had conducted a thorough investigation".

The FA chairman added: "We said last week that we considered the contents of the emails in question to be totally inappropriate and are still of that view, as is the Premier League.

"It is important to reiterate the significant focus the FA gives to equality, not least through the work of its Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB), and to tackling all forms of discrimination."

Abraham, meanwhile, said she was disappointed the Premier League had taken no sanctions against Scudamore, which "sends out a damaging message about how we regard women in football".

Abraham added she had not been contacted as part of the Premier League's investigation, but had been threatened with legal action after taking the emails to the Sunday Mirror, and was herself now considering taking redress against the organisation.

Scudamore spoke of his "sincere contrition" after the top-flight clubs decided against any disciplinary action against him and vowed to hold a series of meetings across football's administration to reassure them of his commitment to promote women in the game.

DLA Piper have confirmed Nick West, the TV rights legal specialist who exchanged the emails with Scudamore, would not lose his job over the episode.