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McCammon awarded £68k in race case

ESPN staff
August 10, 2012
Mark McCammon took Gillingham to an industrial tribunal © PA Photos

Mark McCammon, a black footballer who was unfairly sacked by former club Gillingham, has been awarded more than £68,000 following the landmark legal case.

A hearing granted McCammon, 33, the sum of £68,728 following the tribunal's verdict in July, including recompense for loss of earnings and breach of contract, his solicitor, Sim Owolabi, said.

In June, McCammon took the League Two club to an industrial tribunal. The striker claimed he and other black players at Gillingham were treated differently from white players. He sued the club and its chairman, Paul Scally, for race discrimination, breach of contract, unfair dismissal and failure to pay him and said he was "put through hell".

Scally had told the tribunal, held in Ashford, Kent, that Gillingham had not had to deal with an allegation of racism in his 18 years at the club, saying he was "absolutely confident" there was no racism at the club.

He suggested McCammon had "manufactured" his allegations to justify storming into then manager Andy Hessenthaler's office on November 30, 2010 and accusing him of racial discrimination.

That happened after McCammon and his two housemates, who are also black, were ordered to attend Priestfield in heavy snow when other players were not required to. After that confrontation, McCammon was ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing. He later received a letter saying he was being dismissed for aggressive conduct towards the manager and racism, the tribunal heard.

McCammon's witness statement claimed Gillingham tried to "frustrate him out" by refusing to pay private medical bills to help him regain fitness following injury.

He said he was instead offered the choice of undergoing the same treatment on the NHS - a move he described as "completely out of character" for a Football League club - and claimed a white player had been flown to Dubai for treatment by a physiotherapist at the club's expense.

McCammon signed for Gillingham on a three-year deal in 2008 and was the club's highest-paid player on £2,500 a week. By his third season, they had been relegated to League Two and he had suffered an injury that needed an operation.

In a statement, McCammon said he was relieved at the tribunal's ruling and hoped it would lead other players to raise legitimate complaints.

There was no immediate comment from Gillingham but, on Thusday, Mr Scally indicated that they may appeal the "bizarre" judgement.

He told BBC Radio Kent: "We're talking to lawyers this week and we'll make a decision in the next few days. It was such a bizarre, extraordinary and wrong decision, in my view, that it affected everyone in the club.

"We know we are an equal opportunities employer and we know we have no issues with black people, white people or any nationality, race or creed.

"That's all that really matters and I think the people that love this club and support it know equally.''

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