McCririck Sues Channel 4 for 'Ageism'

John McCririck
Flamboyant racing pundit John McCririck is suing Channel 4 for £3 million claiming they sacked him for being too old. 

The presenter, 72, accused TV executives of age discrimination after being shown the door after nearly 30 years. McCririck said: ''I have suffered humiliation and mental anguish.''

Recent changes have taken place after Channel 4 won the rights to the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival & Royal Ascot in a four-year deal. A new presenting team, headed by Clare Balding, have seen many changes. However, McCririck is being replaced in the betting ring by Tanya Stevenson, 42, who used to be the pundit's sidekick.

McCririck said that of the new 13 presenters only one is over 50. He said of the legal fight: ''It won't be pleasant, the vitriol will hurt. Some is bound to stick and further threaten my future prospects but that is the inevitable price when asserting what is right against entrenched, powerful interest. I believe this landmark action will be a beacon to motivate numerous workers still productive as ever but now living  in dread of being unjustly axed.''

He said he would drop the legal action if he is ''fully'' reinstated, receives an apology and all his costs met. Criticising the decision to give the contract to IMG Sports Media after his 29 years with Highflyer he retorted: ''I have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am 72.''

For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish he wants £500,000. In addition, he wanted £2.5 million more, as punishment, for a donation to charities fighting prejudice in the workplace.

Channel 4 spokeswomen said: ''We are grateful to John McCririck for his contribution over many years. However, we reject the suggestion that discrimination on the basis of age played any part in the decision not to renew his freelance contract.''

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