A former professional footballer’s claim that a Scottish club reneged on a deal to pay her to progress the women’s game have been thrown out by an employment tribunal.

Lauren Rabbitte lodged a series of claims against Clyde Football Club and the club’s charitable foundation including unfair dismissal and sex discrimination. 

Ms Rabbitte, 24, who launched a crowdfunding appeal to fund her legal costs, claimed that the club agreed to appoint her as head of women’s and girls football and another digital role but failed to pay her the £32,000 salary.

The tribunal was told that she met David Caldwell, a trustee of the Clyde FC Charitable Foundation in September 2021, who described himself as “Head of Sport for Clyde FC”.

A discussion took place about a potential role for Ms Rabbitte who was seeking a new challenge after leaving as a volunteer coach with Spartans football club.

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The claimant’s evidence was that the meeting concluded with her being offered a full-time job with the club with responsibility for the development of the women’s team.

Mr Caldwell claimed he made clear at the meeting that any role would be with the charitable arm of the club. 

He accepted that his reference to “Clyde FC” could be misleading but said that it was common to use that title as a shorthand for both organisations

He said he told her that a  paid role was dependent on securing grant funding and that the job would initially require to be voluntary.


The tribunal preferred the evidence of Mr Caldwell and said he was not in a position to enter into any agreement on the club’s behalf.

No written contract was ever provided but Ms Rabbitte started engaging with the club on October 11. 

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The tribunal was told that throughout her time there she continued to work at her mother’s marketing firm and was paid a gross salary of just over £4,000 per month.

The tribunal found “ there was no evidence” that the claimant had been instructed to do any work at Clyde.

The club and the foundation were told on January 31 that the application for funding had been unsuccessful.

Ms Rabbitte, who previously had a coaching role with Rangers, emailed Gordon Thomson of Clyde FC on March 3 last year saying she intended to resign her position.

READ MORE: Female coach to sue Scots club in 'equality and fairness' fight 

She told the tribunal that she had  “constantly” asked Mr Caldwell for a contract and for details of when she would be paid.

Mr Caldwell disputed this account and said that the first reference to wages was in the letter of resignation.

The tribunal found that Ms Rabbitte had been referred to as a volunteer on a number of occasions.

It states: “Moreover, in the one communication from Mr Caldwell to the claimant where he refers to the claimant having agreed to continue in a volunteering role, the claimant did not dispute that characterisation or seek to correct it.”

“The tribunal would have expected the claimant to raise  concerns about payment at an early stage.”

The tribunal “had no hesitation” in finding that Mr Caldwell was at all times operating on behalf of the Foundation “despite his initial somewhat misleading reference to Clyde FC”.

Ms Rabbitte has said she intends to appeal the decision.

John Alexander, Chairman of Clyde FC Community Foundation said there were “no winners” in the case despite the judgement.

He said:  “Despite winning, we cannot ordinarily recover our costs. 

“Our vision to grow women and girls football has been severely damaged through the loss of time, the distraction, and sheer financial impact on our limited reserves as our charity battled it’s way out of the pandemic. 

"If such inexplicable and unfounded claims can be made, and given significant one-sided oxygen then any third sector organisation such as ours is at risk of similar claims and will be left to count the cost."