For Rod Stewart, it is supposed to be a gesture that combines perfectly his two great passions. During his stadium-shaking concerts, the lifelong football fanatic likes to kick several autographed balls into the crowd as a souvenir to a lucky few fans.
Unfortunately for the rooster-haired star, good fortune was the last thing on the mind of American admirer Mostafa Kashe when one of the footballs allegedly propelled by British rock music’s most talented right peg came in his direction.
According to a lawsuit filed this week, Mr Kashe suffered a broken nose and lasting pain when a ball kicked by the 69-year-old singer hit him in the face during a performance at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, causing injuries for which he is now seeking thousands of dollars in damages.
The unusual civil claim alleges that Stewart, a die-hard Celtic supporter who once tried out as a professional footballer before dedicating himself to music, was “negligent, careless, and/or reckless” in kicking balls “with sufficient force so as to potentially injure patrons” during a gig in the famous casino complex in October 2012.
Although the irony is likely to be lost on Mr Kashe, the signed balls are much sought after by Stewart’s legions of fans and regularly sell on internet auction sites for up to £400.
Mr Kashe, from California, and his wife were on holiday in Las Vegas when they attended the performance, one of several US venues played that year by one of Britain’s most popular and enduring musical exports.
The lawsuit claims that Mr Kashe was not expecting Stewart’s set-piece memorabilia give away and “sustained injuries to his face that required and continue to require medical attention”, including a “nasal cavity fracture”.
The document adds that the injuries “have caused and will continue to cause [Mr Kashe] physical and mental pain and suffering and cosmetic damages”, and should be remedied by damages in excess of $10,000 (£6,000).
A representative for the former Faces frontman did not respond last night to a request to comment on the case.
The son of a Scottish builder who was a keen amateur footballer, Stewart was brought up in a soccer-mad north London household and considered the family’s most talented player, captaining his school team and undergoing a professional trial for then Third Division Brentford FC.
He was not taken on and decided to plump instead for a life as singer, declaring “a musician’s life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music, and I can’t do that and play football”.
Despite giving up on his dream of leading Celtic to on-the-field glory, Stewart has remained a devotee of the sport, building a full-sized pitch in the grounds of his Essex mansion and bursting into tears when his team beat Barcelona in the Champions League in 2012.
His long career as an amateur player is also not lost on his accusers. The lawsuit points out: “The defendant has significant experience in the sport of soccer and experience in kicking soccer balls.”
It may be of little comfort to Mr Kashe that Stewart earlier this year announced he was hanging up his football boots to avoid getting injured for his concerts, though it was unclear whether this included kicking balls during performances.Reuse content