Colchester United’s owner has sought to “clear up a few matters” after court documents revealed he had been involved in an altercation with a charity worker.

Notes from an employment tribunal stated Robbie Cowling had told police he was “headbutted” by Mark Harris – a former employee at Colchester United’s Football in the Community charity.

It was alleged Mr Cowling had called Mr Harris a “f****** c***” during a heated row before the clash – which CCTV suggested had actually seen Mr Harris barge into Mr Cowling “stomach first”.

The tribunal found “without difficulty” Mr Cowling had likely used the offensive phrase.

But the U’s owner insists he never used the term, and has also rejected the suggestion that he claimed he was headbutted.

In a statement, Mr Cowling said: “After a tirade of abuse from him (Mr Harris), I did call him a swear word beginning with W.

“The employment judge accepted Mark’s submission that I had to have said something highly offensive for Mark to react in the way he did and apparently they didn’t think the word I used was offensive enough so they believed his version.

“That was despite the whole issue being recorded by Mark and at no point am I heard to use those two words.

“I swore just the once, which I accept was once too many times, but other than that I think I handled the disgruntled employee situation pretty well.”

Mr Cowling went on to call the altercation with Mr Harris ‘handbags’.

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He also says he accepted an apology from Mr Harris, who was reportedly given a community resolution order by police.

The incident came after a grievance meeting which had been called after Mr Harris had lost his appeal to his sacking from the Football in the Community charity in April 2019.

A tribunal has since ruled Mr Harris was ‘victimised’ by his dismissal and will rule on a compensation package at a later date.

Mr Cowling says he disagrees with the court’s findings but insists the charity – of which he is a trustee – will accept the ruling and “move on”.

He added: “I don’t know what sort of settlement the court will award to Mark for his one successful claim but the charity will let the courts decide what they must pay and it is unlikely to contest what they award him.”

The Gazette had contacted Colchester United for a response to the claims made in the tribunal documents prior to publication of the original story.