Sports law is a vastly interesting area of law. It can cover everything from contracts, to employment, to competition, to tort law. Here, we share some of the most fascinating sports law cases – including ones which changed their sport forever…

Ben Collett’s Injury Claim

In 2003, when he was 18 years old, Ben Collett was playing for Manchester United in a football match against Middlesborough. He was victim to a high tackle which resulted in a fracture to his right leg. Collett successfully sued Middlesborough (who were found to be liable for their employee’s actions) for loss of earnings as a footballer and – in the future – as a manager or coach. He received an award in excess of £4.3 million. 

Referee Was Liable

In the case of Smoldon v Whitworth and Nolan, the referee in a game of rugby was found to be liable when the scrum collapsed dangerously and a player was injured. The scrum had collapsed many times during the game, but the referee hadn’t identified any foul play. This was found to be a neglect of his duty of care – though it was also stated during the case that a referee was bound to have some oversights during a fast-moving game.

Oscar Pistorious

The IAAF ruled that Oscar Pistorious – who ran with artificial carbon fibre limbs due to his disability – had an advantage over able-bodied athletes and so couldn’t race with them. Pistorious successfully overturned this in the Court for Arbitration for Sport and was able to compete with able-bodied athletes in the qualification stages for the Beijing Olympics.

Golf And Walking

In 2001, golfer Casey Martin took the USPGA to court when they declined to let him use a buggy on the golf course. He had a medical condition which affected his ability to walk on the golf course in between shots. The court ruled that he could use the buggy because walking was not a fundamental part of golf (which caused uproar in some circles).

Income Fraud

In 1987, Lester Piggott was jailed for three years after it was discovered that he had been hiding his income to avoid income tax. The tax fraud was worth £3.5 million, and he had even misled his accountants. When he was released from jail, he continued racing and only retired five years later.

Support For Any Sports Law Cases…

Sports law is a constantly evolving realm of law, which is why you need a sports lawyer who is on the ball. At Beeston Shenton, our sports law team are dynamic, adaptable and ready to support you with any legal issues.

We are one of the UK’s leading sports law teams, and we can offer legal advice on any aspect of your role as an athlete, including contracts, financial advice, crisis management and more. Contact us today to see how we can help you.