sport

Pendleton wants RS sacked

Victoria Pendleton believes the controversy surrounding Richard Scudamore is symptomatic of a wider marginalisation of women in sport.

Cyclist Pendleton, who retired after winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics, believes Premier League chief executive Scudamore should have been fired for his part in emails which made derogatory comments about women. Scuadmore remains in his position after issuing an apology and the Premier League has declared the matter closed.

The emails contained sexual innuendoes, and made jokes about "female irrationality".

"It's as disappointing as it is to be racist," Pendleton, speaking at Halfords' Summer of Cycling launch in London, said.

"I think if you make comments you should be fired or worse. Instantly. Atrocious.

"Someone of his position and reputation, if he has those thoughts they should only stay way, way, way within his own head.

"For him to express that in an email, he basically just stuck his foot right in, like a stupid fool. He lost a lot of credibility.

"Unfortunately I also understand that within sport it's male dominated.

"That's a sorry state of affairs. It seems archaic that in this day and age women's sport can be seen as something to fill in the gaps between the men's sport. It's ridiculous."

Asked how to resolve such an issue, Pendleton said: "You fire them and you never, ever again re-employ them in a role of that stature, nature or importance. They're fired."

It has been suggested that women should be pro-actively promoted to senior positions to rectify the gender imbalance.

Pendleton added: "It's a hard thing to do because those men are never going to employ women to replace them.

"It would be a step in the right direction, to create a more even sex workforce.

"It's been proven that diverse management groups are the most creative and successful.

"You can't have diversity if you only have men. Women bring a different aspect, a different angle to many scenarios and problem solving.

"I think it would be short-sighted and almost regress if you didn't have women involved. It's just ridiculous.

"More jobs for women. Do I have to say that? More votes for women, that's what it feels like.

"It feels stupid in this day and age. It's ridiculous. It's laughable."

Women can make the difference themselves, according to Pendleton.

She said: "People ask me what will it take to change people's perception of women's road racing, or women's cycling or women's sport in general - and it would be women supporting women.

"If women became avid supporters of women's sport, across the board in any scenario, I think that would make a really big difference.

"And for women to have more managerial roles in running, organising and delivering sport, then that's when you'll suddenly start to get a bit of balance. It's a very long-term goal."

Pendleton has been a trailblazer for women's sport and in cycling, with the likes of Laura Trott, Dani King, Lizzie Armitstead and others benefiting from her profile.

The Friends Life Women's Tour proved there is an appetite for women's sport in the UK.

Pendleton, who is undertaking her personal training qualifications next week, added: "It's really nice to see there's an opportunity for women to have a career in cycling, in the UK anyway.

"There were steps made in the right direction with the Women's Tour.

"It did get a bit of noise behind it. I'm hoping it's a positive experience.

"I heard the crowds were good and people were very surprised.

"That's a great thing. They got the support here in the UK. It's a starting point to build on."