24 Mar Your Teammates Better Know the Rules If They Want to Play Ball

 Many “beer league” and co-ed sports teams have their own rules that every player must abide by. These rules are to ensure that the game is played fair and the players are kept safe.

To ensure that the rules are followed, players are required to read and agree to the league’s rules before they can play. By doing so, there is less likelihood the team and/or the league will be liable for any injuries that occur during a game.

When your team is short a player or two, you should be careful who you get to fill the vacancy. If the substitute player is not part of the league, they might not know the league’s rules. And, as seen in the case below, if the substitute unknowingly breaks the league’s rules and injures a player, it could have serious financial consequences.

In Forestieri v. Urban Recreation Ltd., 2015 BCSC 249, Mr. Forestieri played in a soccer league where the rules were clear that there would be no contact or rough play of any sort. The printed Rules of the league expressly prohibited, in bold type, any form of slide tackling.

In 2011, Mr. Forestieri was injured in a game when John Doe, an unidentified player, slide tackled him. Whether he intended to hurt Mr. Forestieri was not known and it did not matter. All that was known about John Doe was that he was not a registered player in the soccer league. Mr. Forestieri sued in negligence for his injury.

At para [49] of the Court’s decision, the judge stated:

Mr. Forestieri would not have played if he had known that another player did not know the League Rules. Team captains were responsible for informing their players of the Rules. The FDU team captain did not take reasonable steps to ensure that those playing for the team knew the Rules. An FDU player committed an act that was clearly prohibited by the Rules. That act injured Mr. Forestieri. In my view, Mr. Forestieri’s injury was reasonably foreseeable from Ms. Hernandez failing to ensure that those who played knew the Rules.

And at para [51]:

It is not enough for Ms. Hernandez and FDU to speculate, without evidence, that John Doe might have known the Rules from playing in an earlier season or for another team.

The judge found the soccer league liable for Mr. Forestieri’s injuries suffered that day.