three footballs on the ground in front of a football pitch. News 07 June 2024 'Football’s coming home?'—Exploring the legal implications of football-related injuries in the lead up to Euro 2024

'Football’s coming home?'—exploring the legal considerations of football-related injuries in the lead up to Euro 2024

Andrew Debrah, Legal assistant in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, personal injury and medical negligence team. Sarah Towler, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, personal injury and medical negligence team.
Multiple Authors
3 min Read
Andrew Debrah, Sarah Towler

Legal assistant Andrew Debrah explores the legal considerations of football-related injuries and negligence, emphasising the need for safe playing conditions amidst the growing excitement of Euro 2024, and reflecting on notable cases such as Leebody v Ministry of Defence and MO v Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

For me, like many others, football is my favourite pastime, whether it is playing or watching. However, there is nothing that frustrates me more than terrible playing conditions. Not only does it ruin the game by making the ball bobble, or making me look bad in front of friends when I get a simple 5-yard pass wrong, it can also cause serious injuries. Common football injuries can include fractured ankles, knee injuries or rupturing your achilles tendon. 

With Euro 2024 just around the corner, and Gareth Southgate having just announced his squad for the competition, I can imagine many people will be visiting their local parks and football pitches to play even more football. It is imperative that whilst we are all trying to do our best Buakyo Saka, Harry Kane or Leah Williamson impersonations we are able to do so in safe conditions. 

Whilst football injuries are fairly common, in some instances they can be caused by the reckless actions of another or by someone else’s negligence. This can include, dangerous equipment, failure to ensure AstroTurf is safe for use and failure to ensure a safe environment in which to play football. 

Negligent players and conditions

We have acted for a client who suffered a fractured ankle when he slipped on a drain cover outside the entrance to a football pitch, and another who suffered a degloving injury to his finger when retrieving a football that had become caught in a sagging net at the side of the pitch.

In Leebody v Ministry of Defence, the claimant sustained a serious leg injury following an allegedly negligent tackle by a member of the opposing team in a football tournament organised by the Royal Navy. The claimant represented his ship and was playing the defendant’s team who were representing another ship. The claimant alleged that the Ministry of Defence was vicariously liable for the negligent tackle of the opposing player, as the referee took no action and so it was left to another senior officer present to forfeit the game. The judge found in favour of the claimant on the basis that the offending player tackled the claimant from behind with both legs and that the tackle was deliberately aimed at the man and not the ball, which was two to three yards ahead of the claimant. Furthermore, the tackle was judged to be illegal, outside the rules of Association Football and dangerous in all the circumstances. 

Injury misdiagnosis 

There can also be situations where due to a failure to appropriately diagnose a football injury, a person goes on to suffer a more serious injury. By way of example, in MO v Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2023), the claimant received damages from the hospital due to a delay in diagnosis and treatment of a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee. As a result of the delay, the claimant’s recovery was prolonged, they experienced avoidable pain and had an increased risk of developing post-traumatic arthritis and requiring a total knee replacement.    

Our team have been successful in obtaining compensation for several clients injured during the course of a football game, including those injured by faulty AstroTurf, dangerous netting and poorly controlled players.

If you have been injured as a result of negligence then you may be entitled to compensation. Please speak to a member of our team here at Russell-Cooke to see if we are able to assist. 

The Russell-Cooke personal injury and medical negligence team understands the profound impact of injuries and clinical negligence. With extensive experience in handling diverse claims, from orthopaedic trauma to catastrophic injuries to workplace incidents, the team understands your needs for ongoing rehabilitation and recovery of expenses incurred as a consequence of the injury.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our medical negligence solicitors by email, by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7517 or complete our enquiry form below.

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