Football club guilty of discrimination22 November 2005

Leeds United Football Club has been found guilty of racial and sexual discrimination by a tribunal in the UK. Yvonne Campbell, who is of Caribbean descent, will receive £20,000 compensation from the club, plus £1,058 from her boss after being passed over for promotion four times between 2001 and 2004.

Up until 2001, Mrs Campbell had been progressing up the ranks of the club’s hierarchy, since beginning work there as a waitress in 1992. She worked in the club’s banqueting suites, providing catering for weddings, business dinners and other events on match days.

The situation came to a head, when in 2004 she was interviewed for the position of general banqueting manager but failed to land the job. On another occasion, her 30 years in the trade was inadequate, whilst a man with “extremely limited” experience landed a job.

Lacking equality
The tribunal found that her boss, Mr Hegarty, had made racist comments and that he was “more naturally inclined” to value the skills of white men. It was noted that of the 128 people that Leeds United employs in addition to football players, only four were non-white and none of these were in senior management positions. The judgement concluded that there had been “a complete disregard of equal opportunities policies and procedures”.

Whilst many clubs are happy to embrace high-profile anti-racist campaigns on the pitch, sometimes their own practices for employees fall somewhat short. Many clubs fail to implement equal opportunities policies, which may result in discrimination.