U.K.: Footballer sues over “negligent” tackle

It’s “like a climber suing a mountain”, writes Rod Liddle of the U.K. case of Manchester United trainee Ben Collett, awarded £4.5 million for the injury. (“Footballer” does not signify American football, but soccer). (The Spectator, Aug. 13; Times Online, Telegraph).


  • As a soccer and overall sports fan, this is certainly interesting. The concept of negligence and the duty you owe an opponent in a sporting event seems hard to define. Certainly if you intentionally try to injure someone that should be actionable. But admitting liability for a poor tackle (as the article says the other team did) seems odd. The speculative damages are the other huge problem with this. Every sport has “can’t miss” prospects that go nowhere…

  • Am I missing something? No one involved in the case even contested liability, the only question was the proper value of his future damages.

    Its not clear what standard was applied, but if the rule is you are liable for an illegal hit that causes harm, I can’t see much wrong with that. Players in sports have an obligation not to violate the rules.

    The analogy to a mountain is misplaced. Moutains have no agency, players of a game do.

  • Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals was in Prosser’s Tort casebook twenty years ago. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise.