The Law relating to “off the Ball" contact/ Sport

19th July 2017
The Law relating to “off the Ball

“It’s Only a Game”

Sport brings together people of different backgrounds and cultures from all over the world and puts them on a level playing field where anything can happen, within the rules of the game. When emotions are running high, and tackles are being made any slight misjudgement can cause serious injury.

During the match the referee is in control of the players and if a bad challenge is made, on or off the ball, then it is up to him whether or not to punish the culprit. On 25th June 2014, during the biggest sporting competition in the world, the FIFA World Cup, Luis Suarez appeared to bite one of his opposition, in an off the ball incident, which was seen but not punished by the referee.

If you play in a contact sport then you acknowledge that by playing you are giving your consent to any injury that may occur. The fact that most sports have their own disciplinary panels means that in the majority of cases there is not only no need for criminal proceedings, but it is undesirable that there should be any. Conduct outside the rules of the game is always expected to occur in the heat of the moment, and even if a warning or sending off is given, it may not reach the required threshold for it to be a criminal assault. To be considered as criminal the conduct must be sufficiently grave enough to be categorised.

The case of Rv Barnes (2004) concerned an amateur football match the defendant tackled another player who as a result sustained a serious leg injury. At the defendants trial for the offence of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily, the Crown contended that the injury had been caused by his recklessness. The defendant argued that his tackle had been a fair challenge during play, and the injury was an accident. In his summary the judge made it clear that for the defendant to be found guilty, the prosecution would have to prove that what had happened was not done by way of ‘legitimate sport’. The prosecutions case was that the defendant’s action was so reckless that it could not have been in legitimate sport and so was an assault. After a four day trial he was convicted by a majority verdict of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was then sentenced to 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay the compensation of £2,609 to the victim. Following this an appeal from the defence was granted successful on the grounds that the judge failed to explain to the jury what was meant by the term ‘legitimate sport’ and therefore meant that the judge’s summing-up was inadequate.

If the Uruguay international, Suarez, had bitten Georgio Chiellini in the street then it would have been seen as assault, and if he had been prosecuted and sentenced in England, then he would probably have to take part in between 180 and 240 hours of community service.

He does have form for this, and has bitten two people before. As he clearly hasn’t learnt from the previous incidents he would probably be facing an imprisonment of a couple of weeks. But as he was playing a game of football at the time of all three incidents, he was banned from all football related things for four months along with the next 9 Uruguay matches, in the most recent case.

Both Suarez and the defendant in the other case have been accused of violent and unnecessary play, but a few things make the conduct completely different in their own ways. Luis Suarez may have made a move to bite another player, off the ball, and didn’t receive the correct punishment from the referee but he was punished greatly after the match by the worldwide football governing body FIFA. However, the defendant made a sliding challenge to win the ball. The laws state that challenges outside the laws of the game may occur, which is why he was given a red card and told to leave the field of play. He didn’t try to injure the player unlike Suarez and was therefore not punished anywhere near severely.


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Property Protection Trusts

Property Protection Trusts and Protecting your Property from Care Home Fees

Many people are concerned that as they get older, they may need to move into a care home and the cost of such care can be very expensive. Many people are therefore looking for ways to protect their assets from care home fees.

In recent years “Property Protection Trusts” have been promoted as being the failsafe, guaranteed way of protecting your property from care home fees. Many companies promoting such trusts are unregulated and their products such as Property Protection Trusts are being promoted and sold by sometimes nothing more than a very persuasive salesperson.

It is likely that your home is your largest asset and you should be very cautious before making any decisions with regard to your largest asset and the roof over your head. Indeed a Property Protection Trust may not even protect your home from being sold to pay for care fees or could cause tax implications and therefore it is very important that you take advice from one of our lawyers before making any decisions with regard to such Property Protection Trusts.

These Trusts can be brought to people’s attention either from cold calling, arranging home visits and sometimes even from kiosks or stalls in public areas. The people “selling” Property Protection Trusts to you can be very persuasive and may not be providing you with correct information or all of the information you should have before making a decision regarding your property. Their fees are often excessive.

In some cases, these companies even offer Lasting Powers of Attorney at what they claim to be a reduced rate. People should take caution as these “cheap” Lasting Powers of Attorney often result in being more expensive than our own charges and the companies involved often do not provide the correct advice or the necessary advice for you.

If you have been contacted by someone discussing Property Protection Trusts and would like to discuss this further with one of the lawyers in the Wills and Probate Department of this firm or you have already created a Property Protection Trust but would like to take further advice then please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate Department:-

Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com
Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com
Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

Or telephone the office 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

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