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Chelsea fires commercial director Damian Willoughby over this

Damian Willoughby
Damian Willoughby. Photo by Chelsea News
  • Damian Willoughby joined Chelsea in September
  • He sent inappropriate text messages to Catalina Kim
  • Catalina Kim is a football finance agent

Chelsea fired Damian Willoughby from his position as commercial director with immediate effect Wednesday over “inappropriate texts” he sent before being hired by the Premier League club.

He reportedly sent Catalina Kim, a football finance agent inappropriate texts. His behaviour purportedly set a proposed multi-million-pound investment project at risk.

Willoughby started working with Chelsea in early September following the conclusion of the club by an investment group managed by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

A spokesperson from Chelsea confirmed that they got evidence of improper texts exchanged by Willoughby before joining Chelsea.

Although they were sent before he began working for the club, such conduct is in stark contrast to the new ownership’s goals for the club’s work environment and corporate culture.

Damian Willoughby

Damian Willoughby. Photo by Indian Express

Willoughby is yet to respond to these claims. According to The Telegraph, Willoughby’s communications with a football finance agency date back to 2021.

Chelsea will resume discussions with potential candidates for the job of sporting director this week. Among those mentioned are Tim Steidten of Bayer Leverkusen and Victor Orta of Leeds United.

Catalina Kim, is a Korean and is the only female Asian football agent in Europe. She negotiates transactions for millions of pounds between clubs like Manchester City, AC Milan, Real Madrid, and many others in Europe’s football leagues.

As the only female Asian football agent in Europe and the founder and CEO of a top sports agency, she carved out a niche for herself in a predominantly white male field.

A profession in this field was not something she ever imagined herself pursuing. She was born in South Korea and attended college in Italy. She would later work as a fashion consultant in Milan before relocating to London.

The disgraced commercial director was in touch with her agency given his scope of work mainly deals with football clubs.

Willoughby describes himself as a highly motivated, dedicated, and successful senior sports marketing professional with over 20+ years of industry experience.

He says that he represents premium rights holders by working in partnership with leading blue chip brands to deliver multi-faceted global brand marketing platforms to meet strategic business objectives.


Damian Willoughby. Photo by United Kingdom Knews

The sacked commercial director says he is capable of delivering consistent income growth and supporting long-term brand development. The ripple effect of this is creating prestigious, forward-thinking rights holders.

He credits this to in-depth familiarity with the worldwide sports sector and a sophisticated global network.

On his LinkedIn profile, he says that he directed the expansion and specialization of a successful US soccer firm into the fields of player representation, marketing, endorsement, event creation, and brand consultation.

He represented Manchester City FC in its efforts to expand its commercial partner portfolio with top businesses from around the world. Formerly based in Singapore, he helped City Football Group expand its global portfolio of properties through strategic partnerships with industry leaders.

He also outlines his specialities as follows: Sports Sponsorship, Sponsorship Acquisition & Retention, Rights Architecture, Presentation, Negotiation, and Global Partnership.

Others are activation, media rights, digital activation, event creation & management, player endorsement, playing contracts, and global brand development.

Further, brand consultancy, soccer/football industry, licensing, business development (revenue & profitability), leadership, team development, and operational efficiency.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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