Over the last week there has been extensive national coverage about a football tackle by the Wigan midfielder Callum McManaman on Newcastle United defender Massaido Haidara. The tackle occurred during a Premiership match between the two clubs and for a period it was thought that Haidara had suffered a serious injury to his knee which could have seen an end to his Premiership football career. Luckily for Haidara it now appears that the injury is not as serious as first thought and he should hopefully be able to return to the game before the end of the season.
The tackle, which has been described as a “horrific knee-high challenge” went without punishment during the match but has since been subject to much speculation as to whether there would be any repercussions for McManaman from the Football Association’s (FA) review of the incident. However, the FA have not punished McManaman as the tackle was witnessed by a linesman and therefore under FA rules, unless the circumstances were considered “exceptional” no retrospective action can be taken unless all of the officials missed the incident at the time. The referee of the match has been less fortunate though as he has been dropped from the list of referees for this weekend’s premier league fixtures.
It had been considered that Newcastle United would take legal action against McManaman for the tackle and sue for compensation, but now that the injury does not appear to be so severe they have confirmed that it is not their intention to do so. This is a high profile example of when a bad tackle can potentially lead to a legal claim for compensation, but this is an issue which doesn’t just affect premier league footballers. It is an issue which affects the thousands of people involved in football at all levels whether a local Sunday league team or women’s team or an entirely different sport.
Suffering an injury is, of course, a risk that most people are prepared to take when engaging in a sport and often there is no-one to blame and no claim to be made. However, there are occasions when the injury is avoidable and it has been suffered as a result of a bad or illegal tackle or challenge, due to faulty sports equipment or perhaps a poorly maintained playing surface. In these circumstances, it will be possible to claim for compensation and as the injuries sustained can be more serious it can become more important to do so, if there has, for example, been an associated loss of earnings.
These can be technically difficult cases to win as there is the fundamental argument that the injured person had consented to the risk of injury by partaking in the sport. Reporting the incident can be important, as can gathering witnesses as often there are few or no repercussions to the person or club who caused the injury at the time. Having the right solicitor to represent you and support you through the process in such cases can therefore be invaluable. It is no doubt a huge relief to Haidara who at one point thought he may not play football again that he will soon be recovered and his life and career will continue unaffected, but sadly for some it doesn’t end so well.
Harris Fowler has a team of specialist personal injury solicitors who can offer advice on sport related injuries. Free and friendly legal advice is available on 0800 213 214.
Harris Fowler is a trading name of Harris Fowler Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority no. 558271.