Letter: Go on, tackle me and I'll sue

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your Washington correspondent's commentary on sporting litigation in the United States understandably scratched only the higher profile areas ('US sportsmen take revenge on the pitch, not in court', 24 May).

At high school levels, American text-books are replete with precedents from reported cases which arise from injuries allegedly caused by unlawful violent foul play, negligent coaching and/or associated medical advice - not to mention defective equipment or premises - with variations in levels of compensation from state to state. This is consistent with the cascade of cases that can be excavated from UK law reports at school and recreation levels far removed from the well-endowed commercial sector of the entertainment industry masquerading as sport.

What is nearly always overlooked by commentators on the international sporting scene was crystallised with brilliant simplicity when Professor D. W. Brogan wrote, in 1943, for the American public in a cameo entitled The English People: impressions and observations:

Professional football is by far the most important game from the spectator's point of view but it is only the cream of a very deep milk jug.

Today that cream in all professional sports, except perhaps golf, has turned sour due to inadequate disciplinary control by governing bodies that lack the moral courage to impose adequate sanctions and penalties on offenders.

Yours faithfully,



London, EC4

25 May

The writer is the author of 'Sport and the Law'.