The Football Association's leading equality adviser has called for Premier League boss Richard Scudamore to consider his position amid growing pressure for him to resign over leaked emails containing sexist remarks.
Heather Rabbatts, a barrister who chairs the FA's inclusion advisory board, said yesterday that there was an urgent need to deal with a Premier League culture "that demeans women and seems to discourage their involvement in the game's administration".
The board will discuss the matter on Tuesday, a day after the Premier League's audit and remuneration panel meets to decide whether to recommend disciplinary action.
In exchanges with colleagues and a lawyer friend, Mr Scudamore said that "female irrationality increases exponentially depending on how many members join your family", and forwarded a "male fairytale" about sex with "skinny big-titted broads". There was also an exchange of golf-based innuendo about "fending off" a woman in which he said: "Must keep her off your shaft... graphite, sausage meat or flimsy sponge."
The emails were leaked to the Sunday Mirror by Mr Scudamore's former PA. It is understood she may have had access to more than 1,000 private emails. The Premier League disputes the claim that she was automatically copied in on his messages and is considering legal action.
Mr Scudamore, 54, who has been in his post for 15 years, has apologised but is believed to have no intention of standing down.
Ms Rabbatts stopped just short of calling for him to go yesterday, but said: "There is growing evidence of a closed culture of sexism, symbolised in the email exchanges."
Barclays, the Premier League's main sponsor, reportedly said in private that it was "deeply disappointed" by Mr Scudamore's remarks. Helen Grant, the Sport and Tourism minister, said they were "unacceptable", sentiments echoed by FA chief Greg Dyke who described them as "pretty horrible".
Mr Scudamore did receive support yesterday – from a colleague who was the subject of some of the crude remarks. Peta Bistany, the Premier League's director of planning, told The Daily Telegraph that the row had been "completely overblown". Asked if she was distressed by the remarks, she said: "It's so far from that I cannot tell you."
A source close to Mr Scudamore said the "golfing conversation which ended up in the shaft exchange was initiated by Peta Bistany".