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Is it assault, or “just the nature of the game”, on the football pitch?

Many people argue, “it is all part of the game”. They think they cannot be charged because it happened on the playing field. The reality is - you can be charged if you assault someone on the sports field.

The decision whether to prosecute or not, can be a difficult one when someone gets hurt during contact sport. What happens if I hurt someone whilst simply playing the game? What if I didn’t intent to hurt someone?  If you acted strictly within the rules of the game, you cannot be convicted of assault. It is accepted that all players have consented to play within the rules. You then accept the inherent risks of the game. However, just remember - if you mean to cause physical harm to someone, you may still be prosecuted.

Acting within the limits of “contact” sport is important. This is where most fights occur on the field, but a player does not agree to be assaulted, just because it is a contact sport. There is no implied consent, and the player does not consent to be assaulted, simply because he participates in a contact sport. The player’s conduct on the field must at all times comply with the rules of the sport. The fact that many professional players contradict this, does not change the rule, or make it acceptable for a player to exceed the bounds of “contact” on the field.

Tempers can flare up during contact sport, but always remember to play the game according to the rules! Disregarding the rules might result in a heavy fine, or in serious cases, even in a term of imprisonment. There certainly are instances where players ended up in prison for assaulting another player on the field.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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