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Rugby League star awarded damages

16 December 2000 - An Employment Tribunal awarded Rugby League player Paul Sterling £15,950.58 in damages after finding that Leeds Rhinos (Leeds Rugby League Club) of racial discrimination against him. They also ordered the club to reinstate Mr Sterling on the same terms as the previous contract.

The player's coach had told him that he would not be considered for the first team irrespective of his performance. No valid reason was given for this decision. Tthe Leeds Tribunal determined that Mr Sterling’s exclusion from the first team could only be attributed to discrimination.

Paul Sterling said: "I have always prided myself on my commitment and hard work and have always believed that performance on the field is what counts. I have been very disappointed with the negative media attention I have received as a result of my claim to the Employment Tribunal. The Leeds Rhinos and certain sections of the Rugby League press have vilified me and branded me a troublemaker for exercising my rights. I am pleased that today’s judgement clears my name beyond the shadow of a doubt."

The tribunal ordered written apologies from Coach Dean Lance, Managing Director David Howes and Chief Executive Gary Hetherington, as well as a press release from the Rhinos.

The case had first been taken up by the CRE and Leeds Race Equality Council in February 2000

After the decision, Novlette Rennie of Sporting Equals - a joint initiative between the CRE and Sport England aimed at tackling racism in sport, said:

"This case is a reminder to all sports clubs and national governing bodies of sport that they must take - and monitor - complaints of race discrimination seriously, and consider what steps they can take towards creating a more equitable sporting system in this country. This week Sporting Equals launched Achieving Racial Equality: A standard for sport, a document for sports clubs and national governing bodies of sport which provides a framework to help them plan, develop and achieve racial equality in all aspects of their organisation."

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