Chelsea said they have terminated commercial director Damian Willoughby’s employment with immediate effect after receiving evidence he had sent “inappropriate messages” before being appointed by the Premier League side.

Willoughby began working at Chelsea earlier this month following the club’s takeover by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

“Evidence of inappropriate messages sent by Mr Willoughby, prior to his appointment at Chelsea FC earlier this month, has recently been provided to and investigated by the club,” a club spokesperson told Reuters.

“While they were sent prior to his employment at the club, such behaviour runs absolutely counter to the workplace environment and corporate culture being established by the club’s new ownership.”

Willoughby has yet to reply to a request for comment from Reuters.

The Telegraph reported that Willoughby had been sending the messages to a football finance agent from last year. The report added that Willoughby’s lawyers had declined to comment.

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