Football coach wins her sex discrimination case

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A football coach who claims she was denied a top qualification because she was a woman has won her sex-discrimination case against the Football Association. Vanessa Hardwick (pictured), 32, said yesterday that she had been awarded pounds 5,000 for injury to her feelings.

"There could be more to follow because of things like potential loss of earnings, which have yet to be assessed," she said.

The FA said that it was very disappointed with the outcome of the tribunal and would appeal.

Ms Hardwick, a physical education teacher of Ickenham, north-west London, took action after failing to get her advanced coaching licence last year. She claimed at London North industrial tribunal that leaders of a course at Lilleshall, Shropshire, made her feel out of place in "a world run by men for men".

"The course was physically and emotionally demanding and not being one of the boys - not being in with the innuendos - made it more intimidating and stressful," she said. "I suffered because I was assessed on my ability to play men's football in their style and not women's, which is vastly different, and that put me at a disadvantage." Yesterday she said the four-day hearing was "worth the hassle", adding that she was trying for the advanced coaching licence again. "My aim is to go to America and coach," she said.

Ms Hardwick was backed in the case by the Equal Opportunities Commission and National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers.