Vicarious Liability and the Beautiful Game – Liability for Professional and Amateur Footballers?

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Vicarious liability has a greater reach within both professional and amateur football than previously thought. The newly-expanded doctrine has opened up vicarious liability for amateur players, and within grassroots teams. A greater range of torts may also now trigger vicarious liability, such as acts of on and off-pitch violence. The Football Association will need to review the scope of the National Game Insurance Scheme, which significantly lags behind this expanded exposure to vicarious liability. Examining vicarious liability in the context of football also reveals significant problems with the current approach to vicarious liability within unincorporated associations. This category developed in the context of institutional abuse within highly-organised religious institutions; it does not mean that this category of vicarious liability should be applied to grassroots sporting organisations in the same way. For instance there is scope to apply a different test at stage two. It is argued that the courts will need to tighten up this category so as not to unnecessarily expose members of grass roots organisations to vicarious liability which is able to be executed against their personal assets. Both amateur and professional clubs may also wish to carefully consider their selection of players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-262
JournalLegal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2018

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© The Society of Legal Scholars 2018. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • sports law
  • tort
  • vicarious liability

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