Former Town chief to fight dismissal

FORMER Ipswich Town chief executive Howard Wells is claiming racial discrimination against the Irish FA.

Derek Davis

FORMER Ipswich Town chief executive Howard Wells is claiming racial discrimination against the Irish FA.

The 61-year-old who was sacked by the Northern Ireland's football governing body last October is also claiming unfair dismissal after losing his �100,000 job.

The industrial tribunal hearing his case could last up to a month, it has emerged.

John O'Hara QC, representing the IFA, told the Belfast tribunal hearing: “It is estimated on both sides that this has the potential to be a lengthy hearing, in the region of four weeks. That is certainly a real possibility.”

The full hearing is scheduled for November and legal counsel at yesterday's case management discussion were keen to ensure it did not coincide with any World Cup qualifier play-offs.

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Representatives have to decide exactly what issues are in dispute.

Wells was chief executive of the IFA from November 2004 to last year. He said after his dismissal that he was still awaiting reasons for the decision.

The complaints which he wants the tribunal to consider include: unfair dismissal; race discrimination; breach of contract; right to be accompanied to a disciplinary/grievance hearing and failure to pay wages.

IFA president Raymond Kennedy and Mr Wells were present for yesterday's 20-minute hearing.

Barry Mulqueen, barrister for Mr Wells, said he wanted to agree a timetable.

Witness details, the exact issues to be heard by tribunal president Eileen McBride and which documents will be revealed still have to be agreed.

Wells was chief executive at Portman Road in 1999 but did not last a year after a difference of opinion with the Blues club chairman David Sheepshanks.