A former Aston Villa employee who said he was sacked for being Asian has dropped his claim of racial discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Abdul Rashid lost his £81,000-a-year job as commercial manager after restructuring in the company and took the club to a Birmingham employment tribunal, which began on Monday.

But yesterday - a day after former club chairman Doug Ellis told the tribunal he was "distraught" at being labelled a racist by a man he treated "like a son" - the claim was withdrawn by Mr Rashid.

Speaking after the tribunal yesterday, Mr Rashid said: "Despite being pleased with proceedings and looking forward to giving my statement, I was advised by my legal representative to withdraw my claim.

"I understand that initial reports may have given an impression that no offer to settle my claim had been made, which is not a true account of events. A settlement offer by Aston Villa had been refused by me."

Aston Villa spokesman Phil Mepham last night said: "We are delighted he has withdrawn his claim and this vindicates the company's position throughout these proceedings."

Mr Rashid joined Villa Park as a ball boy 28 years ago and worked his way to the top.

He left the club in 2005 after his role disappeared in a shake-up of non-playing staff.

Giving evidence at the tribunal on Wednesday, Mr Ellis, now honorary president of the club since the takeover by Randy Lerner, said: "At all times I supported him, he was like a son to me."