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Pemsel resigns as Premier League chief executive amid reports of harassment

21:05 GMT+3 29/11/2019
David Pemsel
The 51-year-old has been forced to tender his resignation three months before starting in his new role after allegations in the tabloid press

David Pemsel, the former Guardian Media Group CEO due to take over as chief executive of the Premier League, has resigned from the role before starting after allegations of harassment.

The Premier League have confirmed Richard Masters will remain in the role as interim chief executive.

Pemsel was appointed in October – the third choice after the retirement of former incumbent Richard Scudamore in November 2018 – and had been due to begin work in the role in February 2020.

Two other candidates, Susanna Dinnage and Tim Davie, had previously been offered the role but turned it down to focus on work elsewhere.

An official statement from the Premier League read: "Following media disclosures earlier this week and discussions with David Pemsel, the Premier League has today accepted David's resignation and he will no longer be joining as chief executive.

Calls to sack Pemsel had been growing after allegations surfaced in the British tabloid media, claiming the 51-year-old had allegedly sent dozens of inappropriate text messages to a female former colleague.

It was alleged the texts began earlier this year, and continued to be sent after Pemsel had been appointed to the Premier League role.

After an arduous and now seemingly never-ending selection process, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck had at the time of his appointment said of Pemsel: "His straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business."

A number of Premier League clubs reportedly made their views known that Pemsel’s position had been made untenable after the allegations broke.

However, with one of the world’s most lucrative and powerful sports leagues now once again operating without a permanent chief executive, the search for a replacement must now begin again.

The last person to hold the role permanently, the now-retired Scudamore, was executive chairman from 2014 to 2018, having previously been chief executive since November 1999.

The process of finding his replacement began in controversial circumstances as it was revealed the already handsomely-paid retiree would receive a £5 million ($6.5m) ‘golden handshake’ from the 20 Premier League clubs.

That figure has come under further scrutiny since, with numerous clubs below Premier League level – including the now-extinct Bury – facing significant financial troubles.