Sports | Chelsea opens an inquiry after a suicide is revealed

Sports | Chelsea opens an inquiry after a suicide is revealed

An outside review team has been recruited by Chelsea to look into claims made by the New York Times.

Following a New York Times report that claimed there was a climate that caused “unhappiness, terror, and dreads” among staff employees, Premier League team Chelsea appointed an outside review team to look into claims of a toxic environment within the club’s marketing department.

A thorough investigation by the US publication revealed what they refer to as a “dysfunctional” working atmosphere that gave rise to grave complaints from about 50 employees.

The director of marketing, Gary Twelvetree, was charged with engaging in a campaign of “bullying” that resulted in the humiliation of numerous employees, according to a newspaper investigation based on interviews with about a dozen previous and present club employees.

Twelve trees, a former executive at Visa, was hired in 2017 to lead the club’s marketing department. He was given the responsibility of leading Chelsea’s digital revolution as they grew their presence on social media and other online platforms, including leading the club’s heavily criticized “5th Stand” mobile application.

According to The Times, Twelvetree routinely and visibly humiliated staff in front of their coworkers, and some of them took extended medical leaves, ostensibly to protect their mental health.

Ten employees total quit the club, and the department was shocked by the death of a well-liked employee in January of this year. It is believed that the former employee was fired in September of the previous year after returning to work following a medical leave.

According to a coroner’s report that The Times reviewed, the cause of his suicide was “despair following the loss of his work.”

The club conducted a “culture evaluation” of their marketing department earlier this year, but employees found little value in it because Twelvetree would be in charge of it.

A second inquiry into “allegations that have been made under prior ownership” has, however, been initiated, according to the club’s current owners, who have verified this.

The club released a statement saying that its new board “strongly believes in a workplace climate and corporate culture that empowers its employees and ensures they feel secure, included, appreciated, and trusted.”

Although it’s unclear if Twelvetree has faced any consequences—he made no comments in the New York Times story—Chelsea said that “the new owners have taken beginning steps to building an environment compatible with our principles.”

Staff members at the club continue to express concerns, particularly in light of the club’s recent ownership change, which was spearheaded by US businessman Todd Boehly after previous owner Roman Abramovich decided to sell the club due to the sanctions imposed on him after the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

The outgoing chairman, Bruce Buck, is said to have been aware of the accusations made against Twelvetree and to have offered advice to staff members in various circumstances related to them.

Employees are concerned that the channels through which they directed concerns have been closed because Guy Laurence, the chief executive who oversaw daily operations at the club and also dealt with related grievances, has now left his position.

But at least based on their rhetoric, the Boehly-led Chelsea appear determined to bury whatever doubts that lingered under the previous administration.

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