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.


Section 8 Notice or Section 21 Notice? image

Section 8 Notice or Section 21 Notice?

There is one question a lot of landlords have asked us over the years and that is “What is the Difference Between a Section 8 and Section 21 Notice?”.

The most basic difference between a section 8 and section 21 is that a section 8 notice is served when a tenant is in breach of contract (eg rent arrears), and a section 21 is served to end a tenancy agreement, simply so that the landlord can regain possession.

A section 8 notice, or notice to quit as it is also commonly known as, is so called because it operates under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. A section 8 notice is served on the tenant by a landlord wishing to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) when the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy. You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms the tenant has broken.

Once the period of notice has lapsed and the tenants have not vacated then you can apply to the court for an Order for Possession.

If you need help in completing a Section 8 Notice with the correct notice periods and/or assistance with the grounds for possession then please contact laura.day@maplessolicitors.com or daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com and we will be happy to assist you with this.

With respect to a Section 21 notice, you can use this notice to evict your tenants either after a fixed term tenancy ends - if there’s a written contract, or during a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.

Section 21 Notices are only for use when the prescribed documents have been served on the tenant at the start of the tenancy. You cannot use a Section 21 notice if you have not given the tenants copies of:
• the property’s Energy Performance Certificate
• a current gas safety certificate for the property - You must have given the tenants a copy of the current gas safety certificate before they moved in.
• the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide
You are also required to secure the tenant’s deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This government-backed scheme ensures that the tenants get their deposit back at the end of their tenancy, so long as they have not damaged the property, have met the terms of the tenancy agreement and have paid all their rent/bills. You must ensure that such a deposit is put in a scheme within 30 days of its receipt and provided the information of where it is secured to the tenant. Failure to secure a tenant’s deposit will invalidate a Section 21 Notice.

You are also unable to use a Section 21 Notice if it is less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this.

If the tenants do not leave by the specified date then you can apply to the court for a Possession Order. You may wish to use the accelerated possession procedure if you are not claiming rent arrears as generally this route is quicker than applying for a standard possession order and there is usually no hearing involved.

If you want to claim rent arrears then you may either use the standard possession route or use the accelerated possession procedure but then make a separate claim for recovery of the outstanding rent.

The decision as to whether or not to use the section 8 or section 21 route is complex and we would recommend a landlord seeks early advice as to which mechanism to use.

If you require more advice and assistance on Section 21 Notices or which possession proceedings route would suit you then please contact laura.day@maplessolicitors.com or daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com and we will be happy to help.

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