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Legal Liability Of An Amateur Referee

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Do you ref amateur sports?

A referee in an amateur soccer game in Brazil fatally stabbed a player which caused an angry mob to retaliate by decapitating the ref. Two questions. Has anyone explained that, although it’s called football in other countries, it’s just soccer. And secondly, if you are a ref or ump in an amateur league in the US, what’s your legal liability?

In general, you wouldn’t be held liable for any injury on the field, unless you failed to exercise due care to prevent it – defined as what a reasonable person would do in the situation. Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t be sued. And because umps and refs are generally paid a small fee (in light of the abuse they take), your homeowner’s policy might not cover you because it’s not a volunteer position. So, ask the league if they carry insurance on your behalf.

Also leave the knives at home lest you face a legal judgment as well as a mob of angry soccer moms.

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