Gillingham call racism claim 'malicious'

 

Claims by a black footballer that he was unfairly dismissed after being racially discriminated against at his ex-club were made "maliciously and were without foundation", an employment tribunal heard yesterday.

The Gillingham chairman, Paul Scally, said the League Two side had not had to deal with an allegation of racism in 18 years. He was "absolutely confident" that racism was not a feature of the club and said that any allegations would be taken seriously.

Addressing the tribunal in Ashford, Kent, he said that claims by striker Mark McCammon that he was discriminated against because of the colour of his skin contained "no substance".

McCammon, 33, who has played for Barbados, alleges that he and other black players at Gillingham were treated differently from white players.

The forward claims he was ordered to come into the ground amid "treacherous", snowy driving conditions while some white players were told they were not required. McCammon has also alleged that the club tried to "frustrate him out" by refusing to pay private medical bills to help him regain his fitness following injury.

Instead, he claims he was offered the same operation on the NHS rather than privately, a move he described as "completely out of character" for a Football League club, and that he was fined two weeks' wages when he paid a visit to a private consultant.

In contrast, the former Charlton, Swindon, Millwall and Brighton player said that a white team-mate was flown to Dubai for treatment by an eminent physiotherapist at the club's expense.

In a letter sent to the Professional Footballers' Association outlining his grievances, McCammon also claimed he was told not to blog while others were permitted to.

Yesterday, Mr Scally suggested McCammon "manufactured" the racism allegations to justify his actions a week earlier when it is said the player barged into manager Andy Hessenthaler's room and accused him of being racist. The incident, on 30 November 2010, happened after McCammon and his two house-mates, who were also black, were ordered to attend the stadium amid widespread snow across South-east England when other players were not required. When he arrived at the club, McCammon said in his witness statement that he headed to Hessenthaler's room to confront him about being "racially intolerant" over the decision to order them in.

Dubai-based Mr Scally told the tribunal: "I'm absolutely confident and convinced that there is no racism at the club.

"The incident on 30 November where Mr McCammon said he made some allegations of racism were, I believe, made maliciously and were without foundation." "I can honestly say we have never in 18 years had an allegation of racism to consider but we take racism seriously as a football club.

"I didn't take [McCammon's claims] seriously as I considered it to be a vindictive claim of racial discrimination. "I considered it to be a malicious, vindictive, wild and aggressive comment, not worthy of consideration as racism."

McCammon signed for Gillingham in 2008 on £2,500 a week and was the club's highest-paid player. The first season went well but by his third season the Kent club had been relegated to League Two and he suffered an injury that needed an operation.

Mr Scally said he saw it as an obligation by players to see consultants and medical professionals designated by their football club.

As McCammon did not feature in the manager's immediate plans, it was decided that he would receive treatment on the NHS rather than privately.

Mr Scally denied that this represented a breach of contract, and said it was right to dock him two weeks' wages for going ahead with unauthorised treatment without the club's consent.

McCammon is suing Gillingham and Mr Scally for race discrimination, breach of contract, unfair dismissal and failure of his ex-employer to pay him.

The case continues.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower