A round up of recent football case law

Published 15 April 2015 By: Nick De Marco QC

Football Tackle

In this round up we highlight some interesting football cases to have taken place during the first quarter of 2015. All of these cases, whether the hearings were held in court or private arbitrations/disciplinary hearings, have public judgments, and we attach the hyperlink to the full judgments of each case.

Radwan Hamed v Mills and Tottenham Hotspurs FC Ltd1

[2015] EWHC 298 (QB), 16 February 2015

Spurs were found to have breached their duty of care to a young player who suffered a cardiac arrest after the club’s doctor mistakenly recorded that he was fit to train and play whilst a cardiologist had said he may have a possible underlying cardiac condition. The club was 70% negligent and the cardiologist was 30% negligent (for failing to follow up on his recommendation for a clinical review). The case is an important reminder to football clubs of their duty of care to players particularly where they may have notice of some underlying health condition. Damages have yet to be assessed but are thought to run into millions of pounds.


Williams v Leeds United Football Club2

[2015] EWHC 376 (QB), 19 February 2015

The High Court dismissed a claim for wrongful dismissal by Mr Williams, the former Technical Director of Leeds United FC. Mr Williams was dismissed for gross misconduct in July 2013 following the discovery that he had in March 2008 forwarded a football-themed (but sexually explicit) email attachment to a former colleague (Dennis Wise, at that time of Newcastle United). The Court held that Mr Williams had committed gross misconduct, and that the club was entitled to accept his repudiatory breach of contract notwithstanding that it was discovered five years later, at a time when Mr Williams and the club were in dispute over the length of notice to which he was entitled having just been selected for redundancy. The Judge also held that the club was entitled to justify the dismissal by reference to evidence, discovered only after Mr Williams’ dismissal, that he had also sent the offensive attachment to a further male former colleague (Gus Poyet) outside the club, and to a receptionist at the club.

Fraser Campbell of Blackstone Chambers (instructed by Brandsmiths) appeared for Leeds United FC.


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Nick De Marco

Nick De Marco QC

Nick is rated a leading silk in Sports Law and is a member of Blackstone Chambers.

He has advised and acted for a number of sports governing bodies, athletes, most Premier League football clubs and many world-class football players in commercial and regulatory disputes.

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