Boxer Lewis Crocker 'wasn't selected for Northern Ireland youth team because he's Protestant'
A 21-YEAR-OLD boxer has been awarded £8,500 after he alleged he was not selected for an international amateur team because he is Protestant.
Lewis Crocker, from Belfast, brought a fair employment case against the Ulster Boxing Council (UBC) over his failure to be selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015.
Crocker, now a professional welterweight, said he was "devastated" to lose out despite finishing top in tests carried out at a performance camp at Northern Ireland's Sports Institute in 2015.
UBC has now settled the case. The settlement did not include a denial of liability.
Before the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, Crocker had won seven Irish titles and had competed at the World Championships and two European Championships.
After he excelled at tests at the Sports Institute, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's Ulster head coach put forward Crocker's name to the UBC as part of the suggested youth games team.
The UBC decided the team selection.
Crocker said he believes that all five boxers selected for the team were Catholic.
"It was a real shock when I wasn’t selected for the team, when I knew I had earned a place on it," he said.
"The UBC even refused to hold a box-off to decide who the best boxer was, a process which they have used before.
"Everyone else who was recommended by the head coach was selected. At the time my non-selection created a huge stir within the boxing community and I was devastated."
Crocker boxed with Holy Trinity Boxing Club in Turf Lodge. He said his Protestant background was well known within the boxing community.
"I'm happier now that this has now come to an end," he said.
"I know that taking the case was the right thing to do and, in fact, I hope it has already made a difference.
"The UBC has said that it has changed its policies. In the settlement they recognise the hurt I suffered when they refused to select me."
Crocker was supported in his case by the Equality Commission.
Chief Commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow said sport should be governed by fairness and impartiality.
"The circumstances of this case left Lewis Crocker convinced that he had been unfairly treated, and that his community background was the reason," he said.
Dr Wardlow said the UBC has since introduced new policies and procedures to ensure it complies with equality laws.
Kevin Duffy, president of the UBC, said it has "processes in place to assist us in our decision-making".
"We're satisfied that these matters have been resolved," he said.
He said the organisation was keen to "be transparent in our governance and decision-making".
"We're glad that Lewis Crocker seems to be satisfied by this conclusion and we wish him all the best for the future," he said.
Mr Duffy became UBC president in October last year.