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Compensation award reversed

02/11/11: A student from Nottingham who was awarded over £50k in compensation for a knee injury has been told that he must repay the money.

Jack Sutton who is now 20 broke his right knee in a game at Syston Club in July 2007. He subsequently sued and claimed that the pre-match pitch inspection was inadequate.

The Court was told that he was injured on a broken boundary marker during a game of tag rugby. Although Mr Sutton is now able to play again, he is unable to take full part as he constantly thinks back to what happened in July 2007.

Three judges overturned the payment decision at the Appeal Court and commented that it was important that neither the law nor the sport’s professional organisations should impose standards that are too stringent for match organisers and ordinary coaches to meet.

He went on to say that rugby is only a game and therefore desirable, if the pitch had been inspected by staff walking at a reasonable pace, then the club’s duty of care had been satisfied. However it wouldn’t have revealed the marker which was well below the grass level.

He went on to rule that Mr Sutton must pay back the compensation as well as £57k in costs.

The club’s legal team said that only a fingertip search would have uncovered the debris but that such a search exceeded what was acceptable in a pre-match examination.

Following the accident, two witnesses were still unable to see the marker whilst standing very close to it and had to look at the exact spot with their hands to be able to identify its presence.

Mr Sutton’s father has commented that the player’s family hope that a similar accident doesn’t happen to any other young player and that accepted responsibilities of coaches and grounds people are taken seriously in future.

Jack has had a difficult few years and will continue to suffer from the injury he sustained to his knee.

It has been a very upsetting episode but he is now concentrating on his studies and preparing for another operation to his knee.