Simon McCann successfully defends a football player and County FA in a case of n allegedly negligent tackle.
The Claimant and Defendant were playing in an amateur football match. In a fractionally mistimed tackle, the Defendant broke the Claimant’s tibia and fibula. The Claimant submitted that, regardless of whether the Claimant had been in possession of the ball at the time of the tackle (which he said he was not), because the Defendant had undertaken a sliding tackle, this was sufficient to found liability - because the very nature of a sliding tackle was “inherently dangerous.”
The Court rejected that rather surprising submission, but agreed that the threshold for liability was not “insurmountable” in football injury cases (although the bar is set high).
Further, though the referee had considered the tackle to be worthy of a red card, his view was not determinative of liability. Compliance with the rules of the game (or lack of it) did not equate with a breach of the duty of care.
Whilst reaffirming that each football injury case is fact-sensitive, this case does show that it is far from the case that every injury on a football (or other) pitch can lead to a successful claim - indeed, the threshold remains high and has not moved down a rung or two.