Referees face civil action from players

A GROWING number of referees could find themselves in the dock, sports lawyers at the second annual conference of the British Association for Sport and the Law were told.

Two rugby referees are understood to be facing civil actions from players who allege that injuries sustained were due to match officials' negligence.

The cases have come to light after the first court action involving two professional footballers, Paul Elliott and Dean Saunders.

Ray Farrell, the association's chief executive, says it is a worrying development which has important insurance implications.

Kuldip Singh QC tackled the issue of violence within sport when he addressed the conference on the Bar Council's response to the Law Commission's consultation paper on consent.

Catherine Bond, of London-based Bond Solon, spoke on the theme of training professional witnesses, while Sir John Wood, of Sheffield University, gave an insight into the working of a soccer tribunal. Lorne Crerar, solicitor with Glasgow firm Harper MacLeod, highlighted problems facing referees.

“The range of topics covered is an indication of the burgeoning area of the legal aspects of sport,” says Farrell.

The association, founded only last year, now has about 250 members.