Channel 4 is intent on “vigorously defending” claims of ageism by John McCririck after the former pundit initiated legal proceedings against the broadcaster seeking damages totalling £3million.
McCririck was one of a number of faces dropped from the presenting team after Channel 4 awarded the production contract for its racing coverage to IMG Sports Media, ending its previous agreement with Highflyer.
McCririck was vocal in his criticism of the decision when it was announced last October and has decided to pursue Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media through the courts.
However, a Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We are grateful to John McCririck for his contribution towards the success of Channel 4 Racing 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 and we will be vigorously defending this claim.”
In a statement McCririck said: “After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am 72. Ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society.”