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Penalties for Fighting

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davewilliams
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Postby davewilliams Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:25 pm

Is the herd expecting trouble at Blues?
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DanSawyer
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Postby DanSawyer Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:46 am

There's a simple way to solve the problem. Tasers for refs...
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Re:

Postby FarmerDan Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:46 am

DanSawyer wrote:There's a simple way to solve the problem. Tasers for refs...

I second that.
When's the next SEMLA AGM?
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jameskellam
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Postby jameskellam Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:17 pm

And yet referees have been held culpable for injuries sustained during matches!

To the best of my knowledge, never in a game between adults (any sport) in England or Wales. If someone can give me chapter and verse, I'll stand corrected.
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Postby DanSawyer Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:06 am

I agree. Don't think it's happened and can't see it ever happening unless there was something exceptional about it.
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Postby FarmerDan Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:02 am

Evans and another v Vowles [2003] EWCA Civ 318

Using good old LexisNexis that's the only case I can find with a ref being responsible for the injuries of a player. But in this situation the ref was being highly negligent, continually allowing play to continue in a way contrary to the rules of the game at the time. Prop got injured and replaced with player untrained in that position, ref allowed contested scrums to continue despite them repeatdly collasping/failing to properly engage because of that untrained prop. Eventually a scrum collasped and broke the neck of one of the hookers. Here the ref (and vicariously the Welsh Rugby Union) was liable but, in the words of Lord Philips MR

Liability has been established in this case because the injury resulted from a failure to implement a Law designed to minimise the risk of just the kind of accident which subsequently occurred. We believe that such a failure is itself likely to be very rare. Much rarer will be the case where there are grounds for alleging that it has caused a serious injury. Serious injuries are happily rare, but they are an inherent risk of the game. That risk is one which those who play rugby believe is worth taking, having regard to the satisfaction that they get from the game. We would not expect the much more remote risk of facing a claim in negligence to discourage those who take their pleasure in the game by acting as referees.


So my understanding would be that a ref may be liable if he doesn't correctly implement rules designed for safety. For example, he let a keeper play without a throatgaurd and the keeper was injured from a shot to the throat.

In terms of fighting the only scenario I could imagine a ref even possibly being held liable is if the game had had plenty of fighting or violent unsportsmanlike conduct and he had done nothing at all to try and control it (i.e penalties/talking to the players invovled) but even then things would have had to have been extremley negligent to render the ref liable.

In a later case of Allport v Wilbraham [2004] EWCA Civ 1668 An injury was again caused by a referee not correctly controlling a scrum - in this case however, all the other scrums in the match had been ok, if not perfect. It was held that the referee was not liable in this instance. So it seems the negligence must be of a high level for the referee to be held liable for any injuries resulting from breaches of the rules. Where the boundary between these two cases lies is yet to be decided (at least on my brief research tonight)

As Dan and James have said please note: this is not legal advice, just a brief outline of some cases I've read whilst prepping for my Tort exam on Tuesday.
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Postby DanSawyer Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:32 am

Ah law exams... I remember them!
Good luck.
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Postby jameskellam Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:04 am

That's me told. Nothing to add to Dan's post. Still think there's a world of difference between failing to check that a tighthead prop should be allowed to play in that position and failing to break up a fight. We are lacrosse referees, not fight referees and we owe the same duty to the players fighting as any bystander does.
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Postby DanSawyer Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:39 pm

Absolutely. The scrum is well known as a dangerous thing and every schoolboy knows that in the absence of trained props you have uncontested scrums. Even more so if you try to have contested and they collapse repeatedly. A single fight breaking out is not going to lead to liability on the ref. Maybe if Red 13 is constantly hitting people and is clearly out of control but the ref consistently fails to penalise him then criticism could be levelled. Otherwise no.

EDIT: the other thing that occurs to me is that in the case of rugby, the ref is actually telling you to have a scrum which, in the absence of a clear direction to the contrary, means a contested one. It is unlikely that a ref would tell two players to fight...



Not legal advice etc...
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Moaning Git
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Postby Moaning Git Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:09 pm

We are lacrosse referees, not fight referees and we owe the same duty to the players fighting as any bystander does.


So let me get this quite clear. A fight starts. the bench is frozen, no third man is allowed in to break up the attack, and the refs stand there with arms folded until the incident ends through mutual exhaustion, broken handbag straps, or serious injury.

It strikes me, that as the refs are the officials, who have the health and safety of the participants as their prime objective,and are responsible for control of the game, are they not being arguably negligent in taking no action whatsoever to prevent injury? People will do what they want, but I reckon, that approaching the incident with whistle blowing and verbally directing the players to stop is the minimum action that should be expected, and puts the ref a little personal risk!
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Postby DanSawyer Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:27 pm

Oh absolutely the ref should do that (although he may not be liable if he doesn't). The point is that I very much doubt that he would be in any legal trouble were he not to interfere physically. Again, this may be different for a youth game.

The question will always be 'were the ref's actions reasonable?'. This may well translate to 'is there a body of opinion (not necessarily the majority) amongst referees that what he did was right?'. In professional negligence, to which this is possibly analogous, you basically ask whether the person was acting out of line with all recognised practice. I'm fairly confident that a decent number of refs would consider it right not to get involved physically, but no ref would consider it proper not to act with whistle or voice.
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jameskellam
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Postby jameskellam Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:21 pm

In the Vowles case, the ref himself broke the rules and allowed a situation to develop where the players were exposed to the risk of accidental injury.

In a fight, its the players who broke the rules, not the ref.

There's nothing accidental about an injury inflicted by a player who deliberately decides that he's going to fight with an opponent.

A ref who can show that he blew his whistle and told players to stop has done everything that can be expected of him. What you don't have to do is get between the players and somehow subdue them both.

As ever, not legal advice. You want that, pay someone who does know what he's talking about.
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dblacklock
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Postby dblacklock Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:12 pm

This still does not prevent frivilous lawsuits. My favourite referee lawsuit is from the US (but where else of course)

State High School Football Championship
Red plays blue. Red wins on a controversial touchdown call in overtime
The parents of blue sue the referees as their kids did not get as good of scholarship offers as those that played on a State Championship wining team. The referees had to find counsel and defend themselves. As I understand it the court ruled in favour of the referees but they still had to go through all the pain and costs of defending themselves.

Another one (perhaps a little bit of urban myth) two hockey linesmen (proper hockey with skates) went in to break up a fight. One of the linesmen grabbed a hold of a guy before his parter could grab his combatant. Sure enough the guy got cold cocked as his arms were tied up by the linesman resulting in a broken jaw. He sued the linesman as he was injured as a result of the negligence of the linesmen. Again the referees were exonerated but not without all the hassles.

Only a matter of time until somone gets the same idea here. We can only hope that these ideas are slow to import.
Don Blacklock
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only when you play the perfect game.
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jameskellam
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Postby jameskellam Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:46 pm

Earlier in this thread, I sugested that colleagues should read Don's guidelines on how to deal with a fight. I didn't say where to find them. They're here http://laxforums.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=9231
SokSareth
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Re: Penalties for Fighting

Postby SokSareth Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:50 am

In the NHL, American Hockey League (AHL), ECHL, Southern Professional Hockey League, and other notable minor leagues, officials punish combatants with five-minute major penalties for fighting (hence the phrase "five for fighting").

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