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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 20, 2012

Richards affected Premier League image

Richard Scudamore believes Sir Dave Richards had damaged the image of the Premier League but sidestepped questions over whether he should resign.

Premier League chairman Richards caused a storm with comments he made in Doha last week when he claimed FIFA and UEFA "stole'' football from the English and urged Qatar to relax their alcohol laws for the 2018 World Cup, saying "We would like to go for a pint''.

That came at the start of a forgettable day for the Yorkshireman, who later fell into a water feature at an evening function. But chief executive Scudamore insisted Richards had been "great for the Premier League''.

Speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast club, he said: "At the end of the day, he's apologised, he apologised sincerely, he's rung the people who - if he has offended - he knows he may have offended and he's dealt with it.

"Clearly, that's a reflection that he knows what he said was wrong and misguided. It doesn't reflect the Premier League's views. He's away on foreign shores. It detracts from him, it detracts from the Premier League's image, I suppose.

"But the reality is he's done his stint at the Premier League, he's done a fantastic job, and he's done more for good causes, charity stuff, the stuff that never gets mentioned.

"I've had 15 years of working with him, knowing him, admiring him, for who is he is and for the bluntness and the directness. You know what you get with Dave and he's been great for me and he's been great for the Premier League.

"He said what he said, he knows it wasn't right to say it, he's apologised to the people he's apologised to and I'm moving on.''

Scudamore insisted the 20 Premier League clubs would ultimately decide Richards' fate.

"He's in exactly the same position as me,'' he said. "We are there by the grace of our employers, the 20 clubs. The 20 clubs will decide when it's time that they've had enough of me, and they'll decide exactly the same with him. I'm an employee of the 20, just like he is.

"We go to public places, we expose ourselves like this. I will sit here today in the next half an hour and say one of two things that many of my clubs disagree with.

"Four years ago, I agreed to do this breakfast. Literally the week before, Dave was out in Qatar talking about youth development and Steve McClaren and everything else. I had to sit here that time four years ago and the second question was on Dave Richards and his comments on youth development. Clearly, it's just a set-up!

"We organise these breakfasts, then we send him somewhere in the middle east, and then we get him to say some things that he wished he hadn't said and I get to come back and answer in front of everybody here.''

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