Reserve team footballer walks away with £4.5m compensation

#1
apologies if this has been posted elsewhere.

The Scotsman said:
£4.5m award for tackle that ended football career
Date: 12 August 2008
By Cathy Gordon
ONE of the UK's most promising young footballers – praised by the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, as "outstanding" – will receive at least £4.5 million compensation over a tackle that ended his career.
Ben Collett, now 23, was at the High Court in London yesterday to hear a judge award him more than £4.3 million in damages, which his lawyers said later was a record, including £3,854,328 for future loss of earnings.

But Mrs Justice Swift said that, when future loss of pension and interest on past loss of earnings were determined, the final pay-out was unlikely to be less than "four and a half million".

Sir Alex told the judge at a recent hearing in Manchester that Mr Collett had an "outstanding chance" of becoming a full-time professional, but, at age 18, his right leg was broken in two places in a tackle by Gary Smith, of Middlesbrough FC.

Mr Collett joined United's youth academy aged nine and signed youth contracts, becoming part of the club's FA Youth Cup-winning team in 2003.

But in his first game in the reserves, in May 2003, Gary Smith's tackle brought his career to a premature end.

After the ruling, Mr Collett's solicitor, Jan Levinson, of law firm Beachcroft, said: "Ben Collett and his family are happy this case has finally come to a close and that Ben is able to move on to the next chapter in his life."

He said: "The size of the award reflects his talent and potential, prior to the tackle, as one of the brightest young footballers in the country.

"Having said that, Ben would, understandably, have preferred to earn this sum through a full career as a professional footballer."

Mr Levinson said: "The judgment announced today is the highest award ever given to a professional sportsman or sportswoman."

Mr Smith and Middlesbourgh FC had admitted liability for the "negligent" tackle, and the judge's task was to decide on the level of compensation Mr Collett should receive from the club's insurers.

Mrs Justice Swift said she had found that, had it not been for the injury, Mr Collett would have been offered a three-year professional contract with Manchester United in July 2003.

Sir Alex Ferguson told Manchester High Court during the hearing: "The boy showed fantastic focus and a great attitude to work hard; they are qualities to give any player an outstanding chance in the game."

As well as evidence from Sir Alex, Mrs Justice Swift heard from other high-profile witnesses, including United's captain, Gary Neville.

Describing the accident, Mrs Justice Swift said Mr Collett was playing for United's reserve team in a match against Middlesbrough's reserves. She said: "In the course of the game he was tackled by the first defendant (Gary Smith).

"The tackle was high and, as a consequence, the claimant suffered a fracture of the tibia and fibula of his right leg."

The evidence was that, "at the time he sustained his injury, he was on course for a successful career in professional football".

Mrs Justice Swift found that Mr Collett "must have had a good chance of spending at least part of his career – possibly the majority – in the Premier League".

She added: "His positive attitude towards his injury and to the devastating blow of being unable to pursue his chosen career does him great credit. I found him a most impressive young man."

Mr Collett plans to take up a place at Leeds University next month to study English.
Mrs Justice Swift found that Mr Collett "must have had a good chance of spending at least part of his career ... in the Premier League".

She added: "His positive attitude towards his injury and to the devastating blow of being unable to pursue his chosen career does him great credit. I found him a most impressive young man."


Pity the judiciary don't find such a sum in favour of service personnel whose devastating injuries have ensured that they cannot continue in their chosen career (or for that matter other careers that they may have chosen at the end of their service. :x
 
#2
rockape34 said:
had an "outstanding chance" of becoming a full-time professional
If I'd paid a bit more attention at school I had an "outstanding chance" of being much better paid than I am now. Does this entitle me to sue my teachers?

F*cking compensation culture gone mad. If you play contact sport you acknowledge the risks. FFS.
 
#3
Before the outrage bus leaves, may I agree you accept certain risks in any profession. In this case the young man was the subject of a negligent and dangerous tackle. It went beyond appreciable risks. He has not lost a limb, been blinded or disabled significantly. However he has lost his career/vocation and seems to be doing the best he can to sort his life out. The loss of income issue is not one that the judiciary can be pinged for, AFCS is a government, i.e. "executive" scheme.

So fair play appears to have been seen and done. What of the young footballer who crocked him? Is he now in the Middlesborough first team!!
 
#4
Doesn't this money come from the FA though, not public coffers?

If so, why the outrage. Its not your money is it?
 
#5
Apparently Mr Smith is now with Brentford. Contrary to what I imagined he is apparently a flair-filled attacking midfielder rather than a clogger a la Norman Hunter, who has scored over twenty goals in about eighty league games. Obviously, like Mr Collett he was seeking to make a name for himself and simply got it very badly wrong. Ironically he has been dogged by minor injuries ever since that season.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#6
The article says the money was paid by the clubs insurance company

Mr Smith and Middlesbourgh FC had admitted liability for the "negligent" tackle, and the judge's task was to decide on the level of compensation Mr Collett should receive from the club's insurers.
I see no problem with some one recieving that amount of compensation when it's being paid for by an insuranc ecompany as opposed to the Government or FA etc.
 
#7
I've decided that if the Government had handled public education properly, I would now be managing a major multi-national corporation on millions a year, ergo can I sue the Government because I might've turned out to be a millionaire if they hadn't c0cked up education? Seems only fair if this bloke can get £4.5million because he might have been a footballer...
 
#8
The comment by Cuddles about Norman Hunter ( did he end up at Bristol ? ) reminds me of the Saint's and Greaves show analysis of 'Chopper Harris's game whilst at Chelsea.

Apparently, 'Chopper' needed to go back to the Academy to learn, 'It's the ball you go for Chopper - that's why it's called football.'
 
#9
LOL, Peter Osgood always said 'Football violence only migrated to the terraces once chopper retired!'

Chopper Harris, we salute you!
 
#10
Maybe if he'd limped away, he might actually have got more.
 

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