Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Legal Case on Tackle Unlikely; It All Comes Down to Intent, Says Expert

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Legal Case on Tackle Unlikely; It All Comes Down to Intent, Says Expert

Article excerpt


LEGAL experts have warned that any legal bid by Newcastle United over a horror tackle on Massadio Haidara would be unlikely to succeed.

A split-second challenge left Haidara in hospital, "unable to straighten his leg" and in obvious pain after a challenge by Wigan forward Callum Mc-Manaman.

But today - as medics still try to examine Haidara's injury - a Tyneside legal expert said that if the challenge does prove to be career threatening, it could be difficult for the French defender to launch legal action.

Peter McKenna, a clinical negligence expert at TLW Solicitors, said: "It all comes down to intent, whether a player has gone out to injure another player or whether it's simply a hard tackle.

"If you were looking to sue someone then you would have to prove that you had intended to injure someone.

"There are certainly inherent risks that you may get injured by participating in a game of football. What you can't anticipate is that someone will intentionally set out to hurt you. You accept a certain amount of risk by taking part, but it's about what crosses the line."

There is a legal precedent for players claiming damages. Ben Collett went through Manchester United's youth training academy but in a reserve team game against Middlesbrough in 2003 his right leg was broken in two places after a tackle by Gary Smith. Smith and the club admitted liability through their insurers, and a High Court judge awarded Collet PS4.3m.

The court heard Collett could have earned more than PS13,000-a-week, making a total in excess of PS16m, if he had played until the age of 35.

Today Mr McKenna says that if violence on the pitch spilled over there was scope for club officials to give evidence about a player's potential.

He said: "In that case it involved witness expert evidence from Alex Ferguson who would say he was 18 and he was due to develop into a A-class player with similar attributes to a Roy Keane or Bryan Robson. …

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