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Old 23rd October 2017, 12:04   #1
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Default How could FA Clarke and Glenn deny any knowledge of Lucy Ward's awful sexism ordeal?

How could FA chiefs Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn deny any knowledge of Lucy Ward's awful sexism ordeal?
  • EXCLUSIVE: FA ignored sexism victim SEVEN times... before doing nothing
  • FA chief executive Martin Glenn denied prior knowledge of Lucy Ward's case
  • Ward was sacked by Leeds on the direct orders of former owner Massimo Cellino
  • She tried to convince the FA to investigate two former executives for 18 months
  • It is hard to believe Glenn or Greg Clarke somehow avoided details of her ordeal
By Ian Herbert For The Daily Mail
22:44, 19 October 2017

To be fair, Martin Glenn had just taken one hell of a beating by MPs. But the look of utter bewilderment in his eyes late on Wednesday when Sportsmail asked him if he really had not heard of the discrimination Lucy Ward endured at Leeds United said everything about the organisation he runs.

The FA chief executive said Ward's case which commanded national profile last year might have escaped the governing body's attention because the club's former owner Massimo Cellino 'has now left'.

Some elementary inquiries at Wembley will tell Glenn that Ward tried for 18 months to persuade the FA to examine the conduct of two former Leeds executives Adam Pearson and Stuart Hayton who sacked her and then watched a public character assassination when she took them to industrial tribunal.

You really needed to be there to understand what the respected former academy welfare officer was put through in that courtroom, though relatively few were.

The Daily Mail was one of only two national titles to cover the case. There was a swagger and bombast about Pearson as he watched Leeds United's barrister undertake a vicious and calculated attack on Ward seeking to denigrate her as a 'controlling' woman to justify the club showing her the door.

Then the local media coverage delivered headlines about the club's evidence. They were haunting for a former player who, in 11 years as Leeds welfare and education officer, had helped the development of around 250 young players at the academy, including James Milner, Fabian Delph and Sam Byram.

'She ruled the club,' read one. 'People didn't like her,' ran another. There was the usual Twitter hate, of course.

On every human level, the treatment of Ward made your blood boil. Sacked on the flimsy pretence that she had failed to ask permission for a leave of absence to commentate for the BBC on the Women's World Cup in Canada, she initially found it difficult to get back into football. Employers are notoriously suspicious of job applicants who have brought a successful unfair dismissal claim.

It was out of a determination to ensure that as she put it last year 'someone else's daughter' didn't have to go through what she did that Ward urged the FA to pursue disciplinary proceedings against Cellino, Pearson and Hayton, under FA Rule E3, which governs sex discrimination.

The FA always seem very willing to do this when cases are in the public limelight. David Moyes was charged and fined 30,000 last season after telling a female BBC interviewer she was risking a 'slap' for her line of post-match questioning. But it was a different story for Ward, who stood before a brick wall of FA bureaucracy.

Months of FA inaction had elapsed before she tried emailing the governing body's head of integrity, Jenni Kennedy. Despite the nature of her case, it was one of Kennedy's staff who telephoned Ward back. Emails never seem to elicit emails in these cases. Aluko told MPs on Wednesday how reluctant the governing body always seemed to put anything in writing.

Eventually the junior staff member suggested FA action might be imminent. Then all went quiet again. Two more of Ward's phone calls went unreturned. It was after yet another email that a conversation ensued involving Amina Graham from the FA's legal department, who indicated that no legal action would be taken.

The FA said bringing a case before an FA commission would mean Ward being cross-examined again. This was no ordeal for an individual who had been through a punishing two-day tribunal, though no one at the FA seemed interested in knowing that.

When we met earlier this year, Ward flinched at the notion that she might be considered a feminist. 'There's a lot of stuff that you'd say is sexist in football but you're in there and it's part of it,' she said. 'I don't think you can say, "I'm a woman so you can't say that". I would have been the last person to bring a claim of discrimination.'

These are the reasons so many people were astonished that Glenn and Clarke had not heard of Ward when an MP brought up her case on Wednesday. Needless to say, neither of them picked up a phone to call her on Thursday.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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