Gillingham should have acted like Chelsea, says PFA

McCammon complaint ought to have been tackled in same way as Mikel/Clattenburg case

The football club which used a player's discrimination claim as a reason to dismiss him should have acted as Chelsea did when their midfielder John Obi Mikel claimed he had been racially abused by the referee Mark Clattenburg, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) said today.

Mark McCammon, whose case was investigated in The Independent, sought his own solicitor to take Gillingham to an industrial tribunal, which found that his allegation of discrimination had not been examined but instead used as a reason to dismiss him.

The PFA chairman, Clarke Carlisle, who believes that Chelsea were wrong to make public the allegation against Clattenburg, cited the west London club's robust response to the Mikel/Clattenburg incident as the way McCammon's claim should have been tackled.

"I find it amazing that Gillingham go through the entire procedure, involving their legal department, and reach the conclusion to sack him for [claiming he had been discriminated against]," said Carlisle, whose organisation has apologised to McCammon after deciding not to take his case to tribunal. "Gillingham need to make themselves aware of the procedure for that. There [was a major] difference between this and the Mark Clattenburg incident. I believe that the Clattenburg incident was dealt with properly – the disclosure to the press aside. It was investigated and a procedure brought. That's what should have happened in the Mark McCammon case."

The PFA is considering bolstering its equality unit as part of the drive to tackle a lack of awareness about discrimination which led to McCammon being sacked for alleging prejudice on the club's part. The size of the players' union's equality operation is one of a number of concerns expressed by black players in the past year. Though the former player Iffy Onuora has been added to the set-up, the unit may be further enhanced.

Carlisle said he is aware of players' concerns about the size both of the PFA equality operation and the investment put into the Kick It Out organisation, which has only five staff to tackle discrimination of all types. "Concerns have been expressed about the size of the [equality] unit and this is being addressed," said Carlisle.

He added that the PFA had faced a dilemma in the case of McCammon, whom it supported through the internal disciplinary procedure at Gillingham. After the club's disciplinary hearing in January resulted in his dismissal, the PFA sought legal opinion about the wisdom of going to industrial tribunal, from the Manchester solicitors George Davies & Co. The advice was that the case should not be pursued. But when McCammon found his own lawyers to take it up for him, serious flaws were discovered in the League Two club's process of dealing with the case. The case centred on the failure to adhere to the process, laid out in the Equality and Human Rights Commission's code of practice, rather than on the reasons for McCammon making his claim of discrimination. If discrimination did take place, he would have had to present his claim within three months.

"There were three junctures in this case when we advised Mark from a financial and career perspective that it would have been in his best interests to move on in his life," Carlisle said. "We've had to question whether sometimes you do just look at the material side of things. We looked at his career and financial position. He was looking at the principle. We can't throw £100,000 at every player who has a claim on a point of principle. But we will have to assess how we respond to that. The principle can be more important."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
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.

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis