Horse racing pundit John McCririck today launched a £3m age discrimination claim against his former employers, Channel 4.

The 73-year-old claims he was sacked from Channel 4 Racing last October without any explanation because they wanted to hire someone younger.

He is now suing the broadcaster and IMG Sports Media, which took over production of the broadcaster’s racing coverage from the start of 2013, for £2.5m in punitive damages.

A further £500,000 in compensation is being sought for loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish.

Mr McCririck claims Channel 4’s decision to drop him was based on his age rather than his ability to do the job.

Speaking outside the central London hearing today, he said: ‘I am saying I was sacked because I was old, I was 72 at the time - I am so angry.

‘This is a far bigger issue that just me. There are people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who dread that a younger person will come in and take them out of a job - they are in fear of it.

‘That is why I am claiming £3m in total, so that no one will ever be sacked because they are trying to get a younger person. On merit and ability fine, but not because they are younger.

‘It’s because the suits and skirts, they are never answerable to anybody. They make their decisions, they can destroy people’s lives and careers and they are never made answerable. Now they are going to be answerable providing we can get over the legal argument.’

Channel 4, IMG Sports Media, executive producer Carl Hicks, CEO David Abraham, Channel 4 sports editor Jamie Aitchison and Channel 4 chief creative Jay Hunt are all listed as respondents to the claim.

The broadcaster denies that Mr McCririck was discriminated against because of his age, and the presenter says they are now claiming that he was not employed by them at the time, but was working as a freelancer.

An employment tribunal judge will today hear arguments about whether or not the flamboyant presenter was in fact employed by Channel 4, and then decide whether or not a full tribunal will take place.

‘I am saying principally that Jamie Aitchison, who is the sports editor for Channel 4, he phoned me up in October 2012 and sacked me and said within half an hour there is going to be a press release,’ said Mr Mr McCririck.

‘How can you be sacked by someone who now says they didn’t employ me?’

Mr McCririck, who attended Harrow, was originally a racing journalist with The Sporting Life and also wrote for Grandstand. He began his career in front of the camera on ITV’s horse racing coverage in 1981.

He has also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and also Celebrity Wife Swap.

Article from Mail Online