Chelsea have sacked their commercial director less than a month after hiring him after it emerged he had sent ‘inappropriate messages’ before joining the club.
The club have confirmed that they have terminated Damian Willoughby’s contract “with immediate effect” after being informed of the content of the messages.
Willoughby was on his second spell at Stamford Bridge. He played a key role as Chelsea’s new American owners sought to maximize off-field revenue.
However, Willoughby has now left after less than four weeks with the club. A statement from Chelsea read: “Chelsea Football Club confirms that it has terminated the employment of commercial director Damian Willoughby with immediate effect.
“Evidence of inappropriate messages sent by Mr Willoughby, prior to his appointment to Chelsea FC earlier this month, has recently been provided and investigated by the club.
“Although they were sent before his employment at the club, such behavior is absolutely against the work environment and corporate culture established by the new owner of the club.”
“The club owners work tirelessly to set and achieve the highest standards on and off the pitch, and are committed to establishing and nurturing a culture of transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, diversity and opportunity. .
“The club is committed to creating an environment that embodies these values.”
Kim reportedly filed a complaint with Blues business chairman Tom Glick, who hired Willoughby, to claim she was sexually harassed prior to her employment by the club and claims she felt threatened on the phone, reports Mail Online.
Kim held talks with Glick, who became the first appointment of new owners of Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital in July, on behalf of overseas investors who want to pump hundreds of millions of pounds into the men’s, women’s and academic teams of the club.
Kim provided Glick with a series of messages that were sent by Willoughby last year in which he asked her if she was naked, brought up the subject of having sex, posted an alleged sexually explicit video and suggested that he arrange a meeting with the city’s general manager. Ferran Soriano if she was ready to be “naughty”, according to Telegraph Sport.
The messages reportedly grew furious after Kim rejected a proposal from Willoughby to help fund a bid to buy Chelsea which was set to rival the offer from Todd Boehly and Clearlake.
Kim raised concerns with Glick about Willoughby’s involvement after that first meeting, initially surrounding his attempt to increase investment as part of a bid to buy Chelsea.
The Telegraph report believes she alleges this prompted an angry phone call from Willoughby.
Kim then forwarded eight screenshots of sexually oriented messages, including the alleged sexually explicit video, to Glick on September 3 – two days before Willoughby’s official start date at Chelsea.
She then filed a complaint after Willoughby started working for Chelsea and talks have since stalled over her proposed investment scheme.