What should a sports club know about the law?


A sports club, by the very nature of what it is involved in, is a body which could be a target for personal injury law suits.

Although the vast majority of sports-related injuries do not give rise to legal liability under the law of tort, some injuries in fact create substantial financial liability to the party at fault, which in many cases is the organising sports club. Therefore it is important for organising sports clubs to obtain legal advice from a sports lawyer in relation to insurance and liability for injuries.

Personal injury claims - who is negligent?

For a sports related personal injury claim to be successful, the personal injury solicitors for the claimant must show that the defendant was negligent and that the injury was caused as a result of this negligence.

For example, we can consider a local rugby match which is organised by a sports club. It is common in such an event for the referee to also be appointed by the club. It has been established in law that rugby referees play a role which ensures the safety of the players (e.g. when stopping a broken-up scrum).

If the referee does not have the relevant experience, the organising sports club may be found to be negligent in appointing him. If a person is then injured as a result of the referee’s misconduct, the organising sports club will have to pay all of the damages awarded by the Court.

Damages for the player

Damages can include compensation for pain and suffering, losses related to missing work or expenses incurred as a result of the injury. The club would also have to pay the legal fees for bringing the claim, i.e. the fees of the personal injury solicitors representing the claimant. It is therefore crucial for a sports club to consider insurance prior to organising an event.


A further issue which could give rise to legal liability is the matter of occupier’s liability.

If an organised event takes place on the premises of the club, or at a venue which the club hired, the club is likely to be caught under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. In this case the club should have insurance simply because any injury which occurs on the grounds is a potential personal injury claim.

The provisions of the Act state that a personal injury solicitor only needs to show that the state of the premises was not safe in order to bring a claim.

For further legal advice on insurance and liability, an organising sports club should consult a sports lawyer.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on sport and the law then Contact Law can put you in touch with a local sports solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local sports solicitors please call us at 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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