Three months after refusing to resign over a series of leaked sexist emails, Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s chief executive, has accused Luis Suárez of damaging the league’s brand image.
Scudamore, speaking at a launch event for the new season, accused the former Liverpool striker, who is currently serving the third biting-related ban of his career, of having become an “accident waiting to happen”.
“I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go,” Scudamore said. “If you spend your time trying to promote what’s good about the Premier League, you’re always waiting for the next thing to come along.”
Suárez was banned for four months from all football-related activity after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, and will learn the result of his appeal against the sanction on Thursday. He previously served bans for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in 2010.
Scudamore – who said legal proceedings prevented him commenting on the row over his emails, in which he joked about “female irrationality” and “big titted broads” – said the Premier League would be better off without the negative headlines Suárez engendered.
“I think probably the time had come,” said Scudamore. “He’s a great player and I’m not taking anything away from his talents: he was voted by both his own players and the media last year the player of the year and deservedly so.
“He’s great to have but an accident waiting to happen … and this one in the summer, although it was with Uruguay, although it didn’t directly involve the Premier League, clearly it reflected on Liverpool as one of our great clubs. And it reflected on us.
“He’s done his time here, but I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go. I think it was good business on a number of levels to move Suárez on.”
Scudamore also denied that the Suárez transfer was more evidence of the Premier League being overshadowed by Barcelona and Real Madrid in the global transfer market – Barcelona having signed Suárez, and Real having secured two World Cup stars in James Rodríguez and Toni Kroos.
“We lost David Beckham as well, remember, we do often lose one or two,” Scudamore said. “The truth of the matter is that the Spanish system, which produces those two very wealthy clubs because of the way they sell their individual television rights, have always had the economic power.
“It’s not just the way they sell their TV rights, it’s their political organisation and how they go about finding money they haven’t got. They do very well in terms of being able to pick off top talent. [Luis] Figo never came here, [Zinedine] Zidane didn’t come here either.
“We’ve not always had the absolute top name at any given time in world football, but we’ve got enough in the top 50 of the world’s best players. And we’ve certainly got eight of the world’s top 20 clubs, and that’s the most important thing for me – we’ve got 20 competitive clubs.
“Economically we’ve got 20 of the world’s top 50 clubs now, all our 20 are economically in the world’s top 50 clubs. And that to me is more important in many ways, that the matches are competitive.
“We’ve got enough stars, and we don’t need absolutely every world mega star name to make this a successful league.”
Scudamore told BBC 5 Live that legal proceedings meant he could not discuss his emails, which had provoked days of negative headlines, claims of a “closed culture of sexism” from FA board member Heather Rabbatts and a rebuke from David Cameron, who said a member of his cabinet would not survive something similar in politics.
Scudamore said he had apologised at the time, adding: “There’s nobody more committed to the expansion of the women’s game than us … but as I say, I’m not going to go into any more detail than that at this particular time.”