The e-mails were published by Britain's Sunday Mirror after being leaked to the tabloid by Scudamore's former personal assistant.

"These were private emails exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years," Scudamore said in a statement released on the final day of the 2013-14 Premier League season.

"They were received from and sent to my private and confidential email address, which a temporary employee who was with the organisation for only a matter of weeks, should not have accessed and was under no instruction to do so.

"Nonetheless I accept the contents are inappropriate and apologise for any offence caused, particularly to this person. It was an error of judgement that I will not make again."

Tessa Jowell, a former UK Culture Secretary and now a lawmaker with the opposition Labour Party, said Scudamore's remarks "undermined" his public support of women's football.

She told BBC Radio his comments were "incredibly disappointing", adding: "You can't have one position publicly and then be laughing privately."