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Chelsea FC fire senior executive Damian Willoughby after claims of sexual harassment over messages

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Chelsea SACK senior executive Damian Willoughby less than a month after he was appointed amid sexual harassment allegations… after ‘inappropriate messages’ were sent to football finance agent Catalina Kim………..  READ FULL ARTICLE 

  • Willoughby has been working for the Blues for less than a month since his return
  • He was fired for sending messages to footballing agent Catalina Kim
  • Kim filed a complaint with Blues president Tom Glick after being harassed

By Mike Keegan for The Daily Mail

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Chelsea have fired their commercial director less than a month after they hired him after he was found to have sent ‘inappropriate messages’ before joining the club.

West London confirmed they had terminated Damian Willoughby’s contract “with immediate effect” after being made aware of the contents of the posts.

Willoughby was in his second spell at Stamford Bridge having also worked for Manchester City and EA Sports. He played a key role, with Chelsea’s new American owners looking for maximum income off the pitch.

However, Willoughby has now left after less than four weeks at the club. A Chelsea statement read: “Chelsea Football Club confirm that it has terminated the employment of Commercial Director Damian Willoughby with immediate effect.

Evidence of inappropriate messages sent by Willoughby prior to his appointment to Chelsea FC earlier this month was recently provided to and investigated by the club.

“Although they were sent before he joined the club, such behavior is absolutely contrary to the work environment and corporate culture that the new owner of the club is establishing.

Chelsea have fired their commercial director Damian Willoughby after less than a month

The Blues confirmed they had terminated Willoughby's contract with immediate effect

The Blues confirmed they had terminated Willoughby’s contract with immediate effect

“The club’s owners work tirelessly to set and achieve the highest standards both on and off the pitch and are committed to creating and nurturing a culture of transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, diversity and opportunity.

“The club is committed to creating an environment that embodies these values.”

Kim allegedly filed a complaint with Blues president of affairs Tom Glick, who hired Willoughby, alleging that she was sexually harassed by the club before his employment and claims she felt threatened over the phone.

Kim held talks with Glick, who became Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital’s first appointment in July, on behalf of foreign investors looking to pump hundreds of millions of pounds into the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams.

Chelsea owners Todd Boehly and co work tirelessly to achieve new high standards

Chelsea owners Todd Boehly and co work tirelessly to achieve new high standards

However, those talks have stalled since Glick added Willoughby, who he worked with at Manchester City, to the negotiations that led Kim to express her concerns about his withdrawal.

Kim gave Glick a series of messages sent by Willoughby last year in which he asked her if she was naked, brought up the topic of sex, posted an allegedly sexually explicit video and suggested he arrange a meeting with City’s CEO. Ferran Soriano would like to be ‘naughty’ according to Telegraph Sport.

The reports are said to have grown angry after Kim turned down a proposal from Willoughby to help fund a bid to buy Chelsea that was expected to rival Todd Boehly and Clearlake’s bids.

Catalina Kim (pictured) provided a series of messages sent by Willougby last year

Catalina Kim (pictured) provided a series of messages sent by Willougby last year

Instead, Kim provided an investment for more than 40 percent of Nick Candy’s bid, which she later withdrew, and then a proposal from Sir Martin Broughton that made it to the final three.

Kim and Willoughby first met in 2015, when the latter was Vice President – Head of Partnership Sales for the City Football Group, the stable of clubs including Manchester City, with whom she had worked on several deals.

The president of affairs Glick is said to have informed Kim via email on August 29 that Willoughby would become Blues’ new commercial director and would have arranged a meeting between the trio that took place just two days later.

Kim expressed concern to Glick about Willoughby’s involvement after that first meeting, initially around his bid to attract investment as part of a bid to buy Chelsea.

The Telegraph report believes it claims this triggered an angry phone call from Willoughby.

Kim then sent Glick eight screenshots of messages of a sexual nature, including the allegedly sexually explicit video, on September 3 – two days before Willoughby’s official Chelsea start date.

She then filed a complaint after Willoughby started working for Chelsea and talks over her proposed investment project have stalled ever since.

Chelsea staff were notified of Willougby’s resignation via an internal memo this morning.

There is no comment from Damian Willoughby at the time of publication.

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