This Decision could KILL Non-League Football !
Some background - on 19th March 2005 Altrincham entertained Ashton United. During the game Marcus Hallows was badly injured after a tackle by Danny White - he suffered fractures of both tibia and fibula and had to wait over 30 minutes before an ambulance arrived - on the way to the hospital his heart stopped. Danny White was not even booked for the tackle by the referee who was only about five yards away from the incident.
Three years after the event, Ashton United Football Club (now members of the Unibond Premier League) and player Danny White were sued by Marcus Hallows in respect of the injuries received and for loss of earnings – and the judge has ruled in favour of Hallows. Expert witnesses were called in – and were divided on the case – one side (Gary Mabbutt – ex-player) saw the tackle as “reckless”, and the other side (Jeff Winter – ex-Premier Referee) argued that the type of tackle was “commonplace in football at any level”. Ashton United had argued from the start that the tackle was "not malicious" but a "collision" - and also pointed out that the referee and linesmen took any action at the time. Unlike football at the professional level, there was no available video evidence – merely photographs and witness statements – and the judge has made a decision based on only this.
This decision could create a legal precedent in football whereby any injury could result in players or clubs being taken to court, and the financial implications could bankrupt both club and player. Furthermore this seriously undermines the position of the officials within the game if a judge can “overturn” decisions made by qualified people “who were there”. Somehow this verdict MUST be reconsidered – and we must possibly look to setting up enforceable guidelines for all football clubs and players in respect of liability insurance.
If you have any interest at all in the semi-professional game please support this petition. Football is not an “extreme sport” – although it does contain an “element of risk” - and every player knows this from the moment they step out onto the field of play. However this decision could turn the game into a total non-contact sport – at worst it could spell the end for non-league football as we know it – and it is from the “grass roots” level of football that many of today’s superstars have risen – so the decision could have repercussions all the way to the top tier of football in this country.
27May2010 - update - please see new entry on blog ... the same justice system that allows murderers to go free after a couple of years has finally decided on something that it knows NOTHING about ... God help us all in the non-league world ....