Black footballer wins £68,000 payout over racial victimisation

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A black footballer who was unfairly sacked by his former club after suffering racial victimisation has been awarded more than £68,000 following a landmark legal victory.

The sum of £68,728 handed to Mark McCammon at a remedy hearing follows the tribunal’s judgment last month and includes loss of earnings and breach of contract, his solicitor, Sim Owolabi, said.

Striker McCammon, 33, brought the race victimisation case – believed to be the first of its kind against a British football club –after being dismissed for alleged misconduct last year.

The former Barbados international told a four-day hearing in Ashford, Kent, in June that he had been put “through hell” at League 2 Gillingham as he was treated differently from white players.

The club strongly denied his claims and said they were “staggered” by the judgment in his favour as they had employed thousands of staff of different races without complaint.

Dubai-based Gillingham chairman Paul Scally described McCammon’s race claims as being made “maliciously and without foundation”.

As part of his case, 6ft 2in McCammon said he was ordered to come into the ground amid “treacherous” winter driving conditions while some white players were not required.

The player, who signed for the Gills in 2008 on £2,500 a week, also said the club tried to “frustrate him out” by refusing to pay private medical bills to help him regain his fitness following injury.

Instead, he claimed he was offered the same operation on the NHS. In contrast, the former Doncaster, Charlton, Swindon, Millwall and Brighton player, said a white team-mate was flown to Dubai for treatment by an eminent physiotherapist at the club’s expense.

On November 30 2010 amid heavy snowfall, McCammon said he and two other black players – Josh Gowling and Curtis Weston – were told to make the four-mile drive from the house they shared to the club’s medical rooms.

Later, McCammon said one of them received a text message threatening to dock them two weeks’ wages unless they made it to the stadium by midday.

When he arrived at the club, McCammon said he headed to manager Andy Hessenthaler’s room to confront him about being “racially intolerant” over the decision to order them in. He claimed that Hessenthaler reacted angrily.

McCammon was subsequently ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing and later received a letter saying he was dismissed.