Rico Quitongo takes Airdrieonians to employment tribunal over alleged racial discrimination

Rico Quitongo is taking Airdrieonians FC and one of its directors to an employment tribunal amid claims he experienced racial discrimination at the hands of his former club.

The case surrounds Airdrie’s handling of an alleged incident of racism against Quitongo by one of their own supporters during a match against Queen’s Park at Firhill in September last year.

Airdrie dropped their investigation into the matter citing ‘insufficient evidence’, however, Quitongo alleges he experienced racial harassment and victimisation following the alleged incident and an employment tribunal is now looking into the case.

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The 22-year-old defender subsequently asked to be released from his contract and is now plying his trade with rival League One side Peterhead.

Rico Quitongo, pictured in action for Airdrie, is taking his former club to an employment tribunal over allegations of racial discrimination. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Writing on social media at the time, Quitongo said: "It shouldn't be in football and I absolutely don't deserve to be personally abused for my skin colour.

"I'm all for banter with fans etc, but I will not tolerate it. I am proud to be black and proud to be who I am."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, together with the PFA Scotland, are supporting the player with a date for the hearing still to be confirmed. The Scottish FA has also launched its own investigation.

Airdrie have refuted Quitongo's claims and a statement on their official website read: "Airdrieonians Football Club abhors all forms of discrimination and take a zero tolerance approach to racism.

"Airdrieonians conducted its own investigation and found that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint made from a supporter.

"Airdrieonians also reported all matters to Police Scotland who, Airdrieonians understand, investigated and no criminal prosecution resulted.

"Claims have been made to the Employment Tribunal by Mr Quitongo. Those claims are denied in the entirety.

"No further comment will be made out of respect for those ongoing legal proceedings."

Margaret Gribbon, solicitor at Bridge Employment Solicitors representing Quitongo, added: “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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