Chelsea fire commercial director after 'inappropriate messages' sent to agent
Chelsea have sacked commercial director Damian Willoughby after he sent “inappropriate messages” to a football agent before joining the London club.
According to reports, Willoughby sent a series of sexually inappropriate messages to Korean agent Catalina Kim, CEO of C&P Sports, a London-based sports management firm that specializes in linking European football clubs with Korean companies and players, including establishing the partnership between Tottenham Hotspur and Kumho Tire.
Kim, who’s Korean name is Kim Na-na, is the author of the popular Korean-language book “Agent Lady” and was recently involved in a Hana Financial Group-led consortium’s bid to buy Chelsea.
Chelsea was put up for sale by owner Roman Abramovich following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Russian oligarch has since been sanctioned by the British government, freezing his assets, but the club was granted permission to continue operations.
The Hana bid eventually fell through and Chelsea was purchased by a consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. After the takeover, Tom Glick was brought in as head of business, and Glick hired Willoughby.
According to the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Kim, who had been in talks with Glick on behalf of overseas investors, provided him with evidence that Willoughby had sent her a series of increasingly sexual inappropriate text messages earlier in the year.
Chelsea confirmed that Willoughby had been fired for sending inappropriate messages in a statement provided to The Athletic.
“Chelsea Football Club confirms that it has terminated commercial director Damian Willoughby’s employment with immediate effect,” a spokesperson told The Athletic.
“Evidence of inappropriate messages sent by Mr Willoughby, prior to his appointment at Chelsea FC earlier this month, has recently been provided to and investigated by the club. While they were sent prior to his employment at the club, such behavior runs absolutely counter to the workplace environment and corporate culture being established by the club’s new ownership.”
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]