Horrible football tackles that could have been taken to court

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Earlier this month, amateur footballer Nathaniel Kerr was jailed on the grounds of assault for a leg-breaking challenge against opposition player, Stuart Parsons, while playing for pub team AFC Gold Cup.

Kerr has been sentenced to imprisonment for one year, as the victim, Parsons, claims that his "life has been ruined" because of the challenge, in an interview with the Daily Mail

In 1995, Rangers footballer, Duncan Ferguson served a three-month jail sentence for 'head-butting' a Raith Rovers player, John McStay. During this trial, he was told that incidents of violence in sport could not be ignored by the courts.


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The sentence was upheld despite appeals from former employers Rangers and current employers, at the time, Everton. During the game, the 'butt' hadn't even led to a yellow card. 

Many will remember the challenges of Roy Keane throughout his career that went unpunished, including a challenge in the Manchester derby, against Alf Inge Haaland, a player who had shouted at Keane accusing him of feigning injury four years previous.

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Keane had spent almost the next year out after suffering ligament damage. Keane's high tackle had left Haaland with damage to his knee, and although Haaland went on to play the rest of the match and a midweek friendly for Norway, he was forced into retirement in almost a year later.

A BBC report from 2003 highlights Keane's autobiography, in which he claimed to intentionally harm Haaland. Keane was given a five-game ban and charged £150,000 by the FA, but no legal action was followed up by Manchester City or Haaland. Keane has since argued that this was 'inaccurate paraphrasing' from his ghost writer and that the injury was not intentional, however, he did wish to cause harm

Ben Thatcher performed a forearm smash as he collided with Portsmouth midfielder, Pedro Mendes. The forearm smash wouldn't have looked out of place on the ATP tour or the WWE ring, it left Mendes needing an oxygen supply as he was carried off. Thatcher had previous with this sort of challenge, he had done it previously to Sunderland player, Nicky Summerbee, but neither hit even led to a red card for Thatcher, let alone legal action. 

There are many other examples across a range of different sports which have lead to injury to performers or even death.

When does this the action become one for the courts and not just the governing bodies, and who is to decide where the blame lies? 

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Roy Keane

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