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Airdrie await date for racism tribunal case

Former player Rico Quitongo is being backed by Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Scottish professional footballers union, PFA Scotland, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Bridge Employment Solicitors are supporting footballer Rico Quitongo in his race discrimination claim against his former club, Scottish League One side Airdrieonians, and a club director.

The claim follows an alleged incident of racism against Quitongo by a supporter during a match in September 2021.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission statement said the claim “arises from the way the issue was subsequently handled by Airdrieonians FC”. The statement added that Quitongo “alleges he experienced racial harassment and victimisation”.

The commission said it was part funding the case through its race discrimination fund, which “seeks to improve outcomes for victims of racial discrimination and harassment, by providing vital legal expertise and financial support for court and tribunal cases”.

The commission added that an employment tribunal claim had been raised, adding it is awaiting a date for the hearing.

Lynn Welsh, head of legal and compliance at the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, said: “There is no place for racism in football, or any other part of our society.

“As the equality regulator for the whole of Great Britain, the EHRC are pleased to support this case through our race discrimination fund. Every employer should understand their responsibilities, and what the consequences are for not following the law.

“As both employers, and as part of their wider community, football clubs have an important role to play in tackling discrimination.

“That starts with their duty to protect their employees, including the players on the pitch who are too often still subject to racist abuse.”

Margaret Gribbon, solicitor at Bridge Employment Solicitors, said: “Rico is strongly committed to pursuing this legal claim in an effort to ensure that no other footballer experiences what he has. He hopes to effect much needed change, by exposing the gap between anti-racism rhetoric and the realities faced daily by footballers subjected to racist abuse and discrimination.

“He is extremely grateful to PFA Scotland and the Equality and Human Rights Commission for their support.”

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