Former Newcastle United winger Jonas Gutierrez is in line for a massive payout after winning a disability discrimination case against the Premier League club.
The Argentine midfielder took his former team to an employment tribunal after they ‘froze him out’ and refused to offer him a new contract at the end of last season.
The 32-year-old said billionaire owner Mike Ashley put pressure on managers to drop him because they considered his health a ‘liability’ after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Former manager Alan Pardew claimed Gutierrez wasn’t part of his future plans two years before he got cancer and the decision not to renew his contract was a purely ‘footballing decision.’
But on Thursday it emerged he had won his claim that he was less favourably treated by the relegation-threatened club as a result of his disability.
The tribunal also found Newcastle had not made ‘reasonable adjustments due to his disability’ and a two day remedy hearing will decide what settlement he will receive.
He was originally suing the club for a loss of earning totalling £2.15million. The tribunal has the power to award money for the discrimination, and injury to the player’s feelings.
The judgement, released on Thusday, states: ‘The claimant’s claim of less favourable treatment because of the protected characteristic of disability contrary to sections 13 and 39 of the Equality Act succeeds.’
The employment tribunal in Birmingham heard if Gutierrez started 80 Premier League games in four years from 2011-2015, the club would have automatically renewed his contract.
But by the close of the 2014/15 season, he had played 78 games and his contract was ended over the phone by manager John Carver.