Not Every 'Scandal' Should Lead to Resignation

20/05/2014 11:40 BST | Updated 19/07/2014 10:59 BST

Pictures celebrating famous moments of its history surround you in every meeting room. Behind a glass case is an iconic trophy, recognisable to everyone in sport. And on the walls around you are the badges of the 20 famous clubs that make up a competition which is lauded globally. Welcome to 30 Gloucester Place, London, home to a competition everyone has heard of, the Premier League.

Every other Friday, one of the rooms in this building is home to a meeting of the Football Management Team, a group you won't have heard about. Comprising representatives from the Football Association, The Football League and the Premier League, this handful of administrators in effect control the game of football in England, and some would say beyond.

At the heart of these early morning meetings is Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's Chief Executive. During discussions as wide ranging as police costs at matches to financial fair play, he is the clear chair of a meeting not meant to have a chairperson. His leadership shouldn't surprise anyone. Scudamore is regularly talked of as one of the brightest business leaders in the UK, and the Premier League applauded as one of the UK's best exports, with politicians - including the Prime Minister - only too happy to ride on its coattails.

His achievements, and those of the team he has brought together at Gloucester Place, are staggering. Yet all of that could now be forgotten due to private comments made in private emails to a friend, leaked to a national newspaper.

The comments were dumb, and he was right to apologise. There is no room for such sentiment and the condemnation was entirely justified. Yet for all the stupidity of the comments, the way that some in the game have jumped at the opportunity to kick a man when he is down shouldn't be ignored. Lots of people in football have agendas; while the game comes together every fortnight at Gloucester Place, togetherness isn't always something the game is known for.

When I was Director of Marketing and Communications at The Football League, I was staggered at just how political the game was. I discovered that people would do anything to prevent sensible progressive steps, often because they were not the originators. Everyone had their personal fiefdoms, with only a noble few - such as Alex Horne of the Football Association and Andy Williamson of The Football League - willing to put those to one side for the good of the game.

I have no reason to do Scudamore's bidding. In fact, I often voiced The Football League's public displeasure of ill thought-through plans on youth development or club finances. However, his achievements are there for everyone to see. Leaving aside the huge growth of the Premier League, Scudamore has worked wonders to win the backing of twenty disparate shareholders - the club owners, nearly half of whom are from overseas - for the continued financial backing of lower league clubs. He backed The League Cup and persuaded football clubs to push 'solidarity' payments and resources down the pyramid. That is good for the game as a whole.

Few give him credit for this and many pin their problems on the Premier League - whether it's the performance of the national team or club finances... the Premier League is often the punch bag.

This is the prism through which the recent controversy should be seen. His comments were unacceptable, but a great deal of the reaction appears politically motivated. This row isn't about sexism; not one person has complained about Scudamore being sexist in the way he treats people on a day-to-day basis. There is a power play taking place and Scudamore's departure would leave the game without most respected voice. Not every 'scandal' should lead to resignation.

This is undoubtedly a headache to the Premier League, for club owners, and those who sit around the table once a fortnight. But they should think about what they are risking if they let Scudamore go. He has performed miracles at the Premier League, while continuing to support the rest of the game. To lose him from football would be a real scandal.