Black footballer wins race victimisation case

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Former Gillingham player, Mark McCammon, has won his race discrimination case against the club, after being sacked last year and accused of misconduct.

The 33-year-old striker has made British legal history by becoming the first black footballer to successfully bring a claim of racial victimisation against a professional football club, which he claims put him “through hell”.

McCammon told the Employment Tribunal he and other black players had been treated differently to white players by the club, including being ordered to drive to the ground during “treacherous” wintry driving conditions while some white players were told they were not required, and only being offered NHS treatment for an injury while a white team-mate was flown to Dubai to see a specialist physiotherapist.

McCammon also claimed he was told not to blog while others were permitted to.

Gillingham Chairman, Paul Scally, described McCammon’s claims as being made “maliciously and without foundation”, adding that the club had not had to deal with an allegation of racism in 18 years.

The club said in a statement:

“Today we have received the decision of the Ashford Employment Tribunal which sets out their findings that Mark McCammon was unfairly dismissed and that his dismissal was an act of racial victimisation.

“We are hugely disappointed, in fact staggered, by this decision. As an organisation we are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate against, nor victimise our staff.

“This case is the first of its kind to be brought against the club in its entire history, a history that has seen the club employ many thousands of staff of various race, religion and creed, none of whom have ever felt the need to bring such a claim.”

McCammon was once the highest earning player at the club, with a salary of £2,500 per week.

McCammon’s solicitor, Sim Owolabi, said in a statement:

“Mr McCammon is relieved that he has been afforded the opportunity to put forward the truth about the experience he suffered at the hands of his former employers.

“He is pleased that the Employment Tribunal has found in his favour and feels that the judgment makes clear that his dismissal was not only unfair but an act of race victimisation.

“Mr McCammon raised a legitimate complaint of race discrimination, which the Tribunal found that Mr Scally had discounted from the start as being without merit. Mr Scally did not bother to investigate the complaint and ultimately dismissed him because of it.

“The Employment Tribunal also makes clear that the club’s witnesses not only colluded in the preparation of their witness statements leading to his dismissal but also colluded in the preparation of their evidence before the Employment Tribunal.

“Mr McCammon is astounded that the club went to such lengths to both dismiss him and win their case before the tribunal.

“Mr McCammon hopes that his success will make other players feel free to raise legitimate complaints of discrimination and not suffer the traumatic treatment that he has for doing so.”

Mr McCammon is expected to receive in excess of £40,000 compensation, but the Tribunal panel has reserved its decision on compensation until a hearing, scheduled for 10 August.

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