Executives of one of England’s richest and most prestigious football teams have been accused of workplace bullying being so severe that several staff members claimed their colleagues took mental health leave to escape bullying. Almost a year after launching an investigation into the matter, team Chelsea FC confirmed that its executives admitted: left the club.
The charges against former Chelsea marketing director Gary Twelvetree were outlined in a New York Times report last June, highlighting growing concerns about a toxic work culture within the department he led. was detailed. The Times article, based on interviews with more than a dozen Chelsea employees, explained how being humiliated and reprimanded in front of colleagues in the club’s marketing department has become routine.
Chelsea declined to comment on any aspect of the investigation, but confirmed that Twelvetree no longer works for the club. Twelvetree did not respond to calls and text messages seeking comment.
Team employees said he had not returned to the team’s offices at Stamford Bridge Stadium since allegations against him surfaced in The Times article, but remained on the payroll for several months before leaving. . Several employees said the team’s failure to communicate the findings of the investigation only caused new frustration within the club.
The pressure of working under Twelvetree’s leadership caused several employees to quit their jobs. Some took sick leave, sometimes for months. Several employees have come forward following the January 2022 death of popular division member Richard Bignell, who committed suicide after being laid off at Chelsea in January 2022.
Suicide is a complex issue, and it’s unclear if other factors were involved, but Mr. Vignell’s death surprised many former colleagues. Speaking to his family at his memorial service early last year, a group believed Vignell, a married father of eight-year-old twin daughters, died as a result of the events at Chelsea. He said he was. The coroner’s report appeared to agree, saying that after Mr. Vignell’s death, he was “deeply troubled by anxiety, depression and hopelessness after losing his job.”
A few months after his death, Chelsea came under new ownership, with an American-led group buying the club from its longtime owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. In July, the new owners hired outside counsel to get a clearer picture of how the marketing arm of one of the world’s most famous sports teams has become so dysfunctional and mistreated. announced that it would conduct an investigation into the allegations on its initiative. Misfortune, threat, fear.
“The club’s new board strongly believes in a work environment and corporate culture that empowers employees and makes them feel safe, included, valued and trusted,” the club said at the time. . No replacement has been named for Twelvetree, and in his absence marketing operations were led by consultants at Viral Nation, an investor in Chelsea co-owner Todd Boley.
It is unclear how many people were interviewed by investigators investigating workplace allegations and how they were selected. The interview began shortly after the club released its statement in July and continued for several months. Some former staffers told The Times they had to contact the club and ask to be included as part of the process. Others reached out directly.
A former club executive said he met with a lawyer last September and was given “the opportunity to say what he had to say” without being led in any particular direction.
She declined to remain anonymous due to concerns about her future employment in the football industry. She said she was happy to know the matter had been resolved, but she also noted that her former management missed several opportunities to rectify the situation.
For example, after receiving several complaints from marketing staff, Chelsea’s former leadership hired an outside consultant to conduct a ‘cultural review’ of workplace practices. However, the review was led by Twelvetree, who had been at the center of many complaints. The decision infuriated many former employees, and several who contributed to the months-long process said it was unclear if it would be completed.
The recent review also dragged on for months, employees said. They said little was said about what they had learned, other than Mr. Twelvetree’s departure. The club declined to comment on whether the investigation had been completed or whether any changes had been made as a result of the findings. Chelsea have confirmed only that Twelvetree has left the club, without giving details of the terms of his departure.
His quiet departure is in stark contrast to many of Chelsea’s recent high-level transfers, which have been accompanied by statements and news releases.In the last few months alone, Chelsea new chief executive and new head coach — 4th executive since last year’s US-led acquisition — and leader redeployment Development Department and Recruitment Department.
Chelsea have been in contact with Vignell’s family off the pitch over compensation, but the status of negotiations remains unclear. Friends of his said the family continues to receive bereavement counseling and participates in fundraising activities for their children. Another match is scheduled next month at the stadium of Wycombe Wanderers, the lower league team Vignell supported.
If you are considering suicide, the following agencies can help:
In the United States, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling or texting 988, or visit the link below. SpeakerOfSuicide.com/Resources For a list of additional resources, see
In the UK please contact Samaritan 116-123 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls are free and confidential.Alternatively, call Papyrus +44 800 068 4141 (9am to midnight) or message Young Minds: text YM~85258. A list of additional resources can also be found at: Mind.org.uk.