A colleague of a former Aston Villa employee who claimed he lost his job because he was Asian yesterday said she never witnessed him being discriminated against.

Abdul Rashid left his job as commercial manager in August 2005 after his role disappeared in a shake-up of non-playing staff.

He has now taken the club to an employment tribunal claiming racial discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Head of consumer sales Nicola Keye told the Birmingham tribunal that she had attended a number of sales meetings, with many headed by former chief executive Bruce Langham.

But she said she never heard anyone in the meetings, including Mr Langham, discriminate against Mr Rashid, who had worked at the club for 28 years.

Mrs Keye, who has received equal opportunities and diversity training, said: "I was at 95 per cent of the sales meeting and at no time did Mr Langham racially discriminate against Mr Rashid."

The club's former director of operations Steve Stride, who left Villa Park in May 2007, dismissed the claims as "ludicrous".

He said: "I find it ludicrous to suggest that the entire board of directors at Aston Villa was racist, that they would re-order an entire department in order to get rid of one person."

The hearing continues.