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It's coming home: a personal injury blog

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In the spirit of our Green Awards, Roythornes’ Summer Vacation Scheme participants Sam and Nick have “recycled” our previous sports' blog to give it a World Cup fever feel. 

“But it’s a man’s game ref!”

The standard mantra to justify a late and dangerous tackle or in exasperation in response to coming up against some of the more ‘fragile’ and ‘theatrical’ players we have witnessed this World Cup.

It does, however, raise a relevant point.  In all competitive sports there is an element of risk which the participant has consented to.  This is a standard defence, and it would rightly be unfair if every injury were to result in a personal injury claim.  A successful claim could be brought, however, if it were established the tackle was so reckless as to go above and beyond the accepted risk, or if the person carrying out the challenge ought reasonably to have known it carried a risk of causing serious injury.

“Who’s the ******* in the black?”

There are also responsibilities on the referee to ensure the safety of competitors.  A referee is responsible for controlling the game as far as is reasonable to avoid injury. We have witnessed some games where the players have crowded around the referee. If the referee were to lose control of the game and a reckless tackle occurred which caused injury, then in theory the referee could be liable.

Video evidence

Video evidence has been at the forefront in Russia this summer with the introduction of VAR into the tournament. It can, however, also be relevant in personal injury claims in amateur games. In a recent case handled by Roythornes, video evidence from a parent on the touchlines was used to help establish liability where there had been a dangerous tackle. Other evidence would include the referee’s report which, even at lower levels of sport, they are obliged to keep, and also witness evidence from spectators and fellow players.

“I was only watching!”

Those less inclined to take part in sporting events but simply spectate are also owed a duty of care not only in the stadium itself but also beyond.

Just last Saturday the fan zone located on the Sparrow Hills campus of Moscow State University was forced to shut due to expected poor weather conditions. Whilst this happened outside this jurisdiction the same principle would apply here. The owners of venues have a responsibility to do what is reasonable to make premises reasonably safe. So if there is any possibility the venue where you may intend watching the remaining games are not regarded safe, don’t be too angry if you’re forced to watch the game at home.

Competitors in sporting events can also owe a duty of care to spectators. In these circumstances, a competitor’s duty is not to show reckless disregard for the spectators’ safety.  So far England penalty takers have been anything but reckless and long may this continue!

 “They think it’s all over…”

To bring it home (no pun intended), no one would wish to remove all potential risks associated with competitive endeavours.  This is why so many people have enjoyed watching the World Cup this summer.  That said, given the potential and far-reaching effects injuries could have, not only for promising young sports stars whose careers could be cut short, but also for amateur participants who may find themselves in unnecessary pain and in financial difficulties as a result of injury, it is only right and proper that unnecessary injuries should be avoided where possible.


If you have sustained such an injury within the last three years you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with one of our Personal Injury specialists by calling 01775 842500 or email