Lewis Crocker: Protestant boxer’s payout over discrimination claim

A Protestant boxer has received thousands of pounds in settlement of a case brought under fair employment law.

Lewis Crocker believed he was not picked for the NI Commonwealth Youth Games squad because of his perceived religious belief or political opinion.

The Ulster Boxing Council (UBC) did not select Mr Crocker despite his recommendation by Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s head coach for Ulster.

The council settled the case for £8,500 without admitting any liability.

The boxer’s case was supported by the Equality Commission.

Mr Crocker, 21, said it was a “real shock” when he was not chosen for the team to take part in the 2015 games in Samoa.

In a statement, the UBC said it was “very happy this has been brought to a conclusion for Lewis and his family”.

The boxer, now a professional, was a successful amateur at the time with seven Irish titles to his name.

He had also competed at the world and European championships.

Mr Crocker was boxing with the Holy Trinity Boxing Club in Turf Lodge, a predominantly Catholic area of north Belfast, but his community background, which is Protestant, was well known within the boxing community.

He finished top in tests carried out at a high performance camp at the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland in 2015 and was recommended for selection by the head coach.

Mr Crocker believes that all those selected for the team were Catholic.

‘Tremendous loss’

The UBC settled the case, which was brought under the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order.

In a statement, the secretary of the Ulster Boxing Council said: “We are very happy that this has been brought to a conclusion for Lewis and his family. We hope that this gives him closure.

“Lewis has been a tremendous loss to Ulster amateur boxing by turning professional.”

He added: “Myself and our president Kevin Duffy were elected in October 2017 and we want to help modernise policy, procedures and practices to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Crocker said: “The UBC even refused to hold a box-off to decide who the best boxer was, a process which they have used before.” He added his non-selection had caused “a huge stir within the boxing community.”

Dr Michael Wardlow, from the Equality Commission, said: “There certainly should never be any suggestion of a person’s religious or community background being a consideration for team selection.”

He added that since the case was brought the UBC has introduced new policies, practices and procedures to ensure compliance in line with its obligations.

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