Victorian tribunal rules men have been disadvantaged February 8, 2006

MCC loses discrimination case

Cricinfo staff

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is under pressure to amend its rules after a Victorian tribunal found that it had been discriminating against men by allowing women to jump membership waiting lists.

The MCC first allowed women to join in 1983, and three years later made a rule change which enabled existing members to nominate a woman for full membership as long as they relinquished their ladies or guest card.

Matthew Mangan took the MCC to the tribunal after the club refused to allow him membership through his brother's guest card, which he had used for more than a decade. He won his case and was awarded Aus$50,000 towards his legal bills.

Mangan is not guaranteed membership despite his success. The MCC could decide to scrap the rule at the next annual general meeting in August.

Although the MCC argued it was protected by legislation allowing discrimination to meet a special need, the tribunal disagreed. "It was a sound and lawful rule designed to redress historic circumstances, however the rule has now served its purpose," tribunal president Stuart Morris said. "Women have had the right to apply for membership in their own right since 1983 and, since 2002, have been so admitted on this basis. Hence this discriminatory practice is no longer justified nor lawful."

He added that the rule discriminated against both men and women, as it allowed women with connections to members to jump the waiting list of almost 200,000 people.