A person who recklessly fouls his opponent in football is liable for the injuries he inflicts on the opponent in the unfair duel. This was decided by the 6th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm and confirmed the first-instance ruling of the Regional Court of Dortmund.
On 18 April 2010, during a championship match in the A 3 district league of the Dortmund district, the plaintiff player was fouled by the defendant player of the opposing team with his leg extended. As a result of the foul, which was punished with a yellow card by the referee, the plaintiff suffered a severe knee injury, which has prevented him from practising his profession as a painter and varnisher to this day. The plaintiff demanded compensation, in particular damages for pain and suffering, from the defendant for the injury he claimed was caused by grossly irregular play. The defendant, who had liability insurance, had denied his liability and said that the plaintiff had suffered an unfortunate injury during a duel for the ball, which was in accordance with the rules.
The 6th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm confirmed the defendant's order to pay comprehensive damages, including damages for pain and suffering in the amount of € 50,000. In the absence of negligence, a football player is not liable if he injures his opponent while playing according to the rules and fairness. In the present case, however, the defendant was liable because he had acted recklessly in breach of the German Football Association's football rule number 12. He had engaged in the duel leading to the plaintiff's injury without any consideration of the danger and the consequences of his entry for the opponent. The Regional Court had rightly assumed this after taking extensive evidence.
Judgment of the 6th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm of 22.10.2012 (I-6 U 241/11).
Source: Press release of the President of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm of 26.11.2012
Goldberg Attorneys at Law 2012
Attorney at Law Michael Ullrich, LL.M. (Information Law)
Specialist lawyer for information technology law