Footballer sues council over state of pitches

Amateur footballer Tim Kinley injured his leg on broken glass on Mereside Park Playing Fields.

Amateur footballer Tim Kinley injured his leg on broken glass on Mereside Park Playing Fields.

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AN AMATEUR footballer who was injured by broken glass on a council-run pitch has been left with a hefty court bill after a judge threw out his claim for compensation.

Tim Kinley, 31, will have to pay £8,000 in court costs after his case against Blackpool Council was dismissed.

Mr Kinley, of Devonshire Road, Bispham, suffered a two-inch gash on his left shin after slicing it on glass, which was hidden beneath a clump of grass cuttings, during a game on Mereside.

His case was heard before Blackpool County Court but Deputy District Judge Ian Grant found Blackpool Council had acted in a “reasonable and proportionate manner” in their preparation and inspection of the pitch area.

Bottle

Ben Norman, representing Mr Kinley, had argued the council should have detected the offending glass, thought to be the bottom portion of a milk bottle, as part of its grass cutting and pitch inspection operation.

He said: “If it is acceptable that there is a duty to inspect that pitch, which there must be, that inspection must be one which can detect that glass in the pitch.

“It is my submission that liability does rest with the defendant in this instance.”

Under cross examination by David Kenny, representing Blackpool Council, Mr Kinley had suggested council workers could rake away loose grass cuttings on football pitches to eliminate the risk of hidden debris.

Mr Kenny said: “That would be fanciful and I suggest that the council taxpayers of Blackpool would be alarmed were that one of their duties.”

In reaching his decision, Mr Grant said: “Mr Kinley came across to me as a decent guy, more interested in playing football than moaning about a lack of facilities.

“I believe that the regime adopted by Blackpool Council was reasonable and proportionate.

“While I have a lot of sympathy for Mr Kinley I can’t say it fell at the hand of neglect by the local authority. The case is therefore dismissed.”

Mr Kinley was ordered to pay costs of £8,208.

Addressing Mr Kinley, Mr Grant added: “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you but I wish you well in the forthcoming season.”

The case comes just weeks after The Gazette reported local football clubs have called on Blackpool Council to act on the state of pitches and facilities across the resort.

Mr Kinley, an electrician, has 15 years experience of playing in local football leagues and was playing for his former club, Grand Designs, when the incident took place in July 2010.

Speaking to The Gazette after the decision, he said: “I’m a bit gutted but it wasn’t really about personal gain.

“As long as they sort the pitches out and stop accidents from happening I’ll be happy.”