A black footballer who was released from his club is bringing a claim for race discrimination, it emerged today.
Mark McCammon, 33, claims he and other black players at Gillingham FC were treated differently from white players.
The player confirmed the story, which appeared in today's Sunday Telegraph, saying only: "I'm hopeful that truth will prevail but I can't comment any further at this stage."
The newspaper said the case was believed to be the first race discrimination claim brought by a professional footballer.
It comes at a time when there is concern about racism in football.
Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a summit on the issue last week, amid fears that high-profile incidents are harming football's image.
Earlier this month Liverpool forward Luis Suarez was forced to apologise for refusing to shake hands with Manchester United's Patrice Evra before the teams' match.
Suarez had only recently returned to action for Liverpool following a ban for racially abusing Evra during a game in October.
England star John Terry is due to face trial over the summer on charges of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the charges.
McCammon, a Barbados international forward, signed a three-year contract with League Two club Gillingham in 2008, and was released three seasons later.
The former Charlton, Swindon, Millwall and Brighton player is currently with Conference team Braintree Town.
He is bringing a claim for race discrimination and unfair dismissal against his former club and its chairman, Paul Scally.
It is understood he will claim that he and other black players were treated less favourably than white players in terms of punishments handed out for missing training, medical treatments and pay cuts following the club's relegation.
The case is expected to be heard at an employment tribunal in Ashford, Kent during the summer.
A spokesman for Gillingham said today: "The allegations made by Mark McCammon are wholly rejected by the club. It would not be appropriate for the club to comment further until the employment tribunal hearing has taken place."