Damian Willoughby dismisses ‘a reminder that women in football are harassed on a daily basis’

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Chelsea’s resignation of commercial director Damian Willoughby is a reminder of the sexual harassment and discrimination women still face on a daily basis in football, according to the organization Women in Football.

As reported exclusively by Telegraph Sport, Willoughby was fired after less than a month in his job at Stamford Bridge after it was revealed that he had sent a series of ‘inappropriate messages’ to investment agent Catalina Kim before joining Chelsea.

Women in Football, which offers free legal advice from Mishcon de Reya, plans to reach out to Kim to offer her support and advice, and have urged clubs to work closely with them to try and resolve cases such as to wipe out that of Willoughby.

A Women in Football statement to Telegraph Sport said: “Damian Willoughby’s case is a reminder that women in the football industry still face sexual harassment and discrimination on a daily basis. Two-thirds of Women in Football members have witnessed sexism at work. The vast majority of cases never make the headlines. Only 12 percent are even reported in the workplace.

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“Women in Football provides practical support to our more than 6,000 members in dealing with discrimination, including free advice from our official legal partner Mishcon de Reya. Every WIF member who speaks out against sexism in their workplace does so with our support.

“We applaud the football clubs who are working to eradicate all forms of inequality, whether it be high-profile scandals reported in the media or everyday sexism in the workplace. We invite more clubs to work with us to become safer and fairer places for women to continue their careers.”

Kim filed her complaint with Chelsea’s president of business Tom Glick, who hired Willoughby. Kim said she was sexually harassed by the club before Willoughby’s employment and claims she felt threatened over the phone while he was working for the club.

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Kim provided Glick with a series of messages Willougby sent last year asking her if she was naked, raising the topic of sex, posting an allegedly sexually explicit video and suggesting he arrange a meeting with Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano. if she was willing to be “naughty”.

Before becoming Glick’s first hire in early September, Willoughby worked for Chelsea between 2007 and 2010 and also worked for Rangers and the City Football Group, the stable of clubs that Manchester City are part of, as well as EA Sports.

Before Chelsea confirmed Willoughby’s resignation in a statement to Telegraph Sport on Tuesday evening, Chelsea sent an internal memo to all employees, informing them of his resignation and reminding them of the different ways complaints or incidents can be reported.

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The memo also emphasized the new owners’ commitment to fostering an inclusive culture of safety and well-being.

Chelsea said in a statement: “Chelsea Football Club confirm that it has terminated the employment of Commercial Director Damian Willoughby with immediate effect.

“Evidence of inappropriate messages sent by Mr Willoughby, prior to his appointment to Chelsea FC earlier this month, has recently been provided to and investigated by the club. Although they were sent before he joined the club, such behavior is absolutely contrary to the work environment and corporate culture established by the new owner of the club.

“The club’s owners work tirelessly to set and achieve the highest standards both on and off the pitch and are committed to creating and nurturing a culture of transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, diversity and opportunity. The club is committed to creating an environment that embodies these values.”