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31 Jan, 2022 17:50

Ex-Chelsea boss accused of sexual harassment

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has been accused of sexual harassment by several women on an Israeli television show
Ex-Chelsea boss accused of sexual harassment

Avram Grant, a personal friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and former manager at Stamford Bridge, has been accused of sexual impropriety following an investigation conducted by an Israeli television show.

Grant, 66, who led Chelsea to the final of the 2007-08 Champions League and also spent time in charge of Premier League side West Ham and the Israel national team, was the subject of the investigation by a show called 'Exposure', per the Times of Israel, which alleged that several well-known female journalists – whose identities were protected – had been mistreated by Grant.

One of the incidents is said to have occurred in 2020 after Grant had invited the accuser, then aged 22, to his apartment under the pretence of helping her career.

“He told me, ‘Make yourself comfortable, take off your clothes.’ I thought he was joking," she detailed.

"I was sitting far away from him, on the edge of the couch. He asked me to come closer and tried to hug me, really grabbed me and did not let go.

“I felt uncomfortable, he put his hand on my thigh and I remember immediately moving his hand. After a few seconds of talking, he grabbed me by the neck, as if choking me, turned my head to him and tried to kiss me by force."

The unnamed woman also claimed that Grant refused her request to be allowed to leave the apartment.

Several similar claims were made on the television programme, with alleged victims often saying that they had been promised advice about their careers before Grant propositioned them.

Another woman who claimed that Grant removed his clothes and requested sex in a hotel room said: “I said no a million times, but he persisted and persisted… I felt that I had to, so he would let me go.” 

Grant did not deny the allegations when asked for comment.

“In my life, both in a personal and professional capacity, I have always sought, above and beyond any successes or achievements, to prioritize staying a human being and to respect every woman or man, whoever they may be,” he said.

“I am a people person, a man of friendships. And over the years I have maintained relationships with women. In all these relationships I have tried very hard to treat them with respect and friendship and I never intended to behave unfairly or in any way harm any woman.

"Anyone who has felt uncomfortable or hurt by me, I regret it and apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Grant's most recent role in football was as head coach of the Ghanaian national team, a post he held between November 2014 and February 2017. 

In 2010 it was reported that Grant was under investigation by British authorities for an alleged visit to a London brothel.