Blackpool FC appeals £20k damages awarded to teenage footballer abused by 'scout'

Blackpool Football Club has launched an appeal after being ordered to pay nearly £20,000 damages to a man abused by a former "scout" when a teenage footballer.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 2:10 pm

The man, now in his 40s, was abused when he was 13 by paedophile Frank Roper during a youth football tour to New Zealand in the summer of 1987, judges have heard.

The man sued Blackpool and argued the club was "vicariously liable", with club bosses disputing his claim.

A High Court judge ruled in his favour and ordered Blackpool to pay more than £19,000 in March 2020.

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Blackpool Football Club has launched an appeal after being ordered to pay nearly £20,000 damages to a man abused by a former "scout".

Lawyers representing Blackpool on Wednesday (July 21) asked three appeal judges to overturn that ruling by Mr Justice Griffiths.

They argued Mr Roper was not a "quasi employee" but a "completely free agent" equivalent to a "contractor".

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Lady Justice Macur, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith and Sir Stephen Richards are considering arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London, which is due to end on Thursday and is being shown online.

Judges have ruled the man cannot be identified in media reports of the case.

Mr Roper, a former businessman who died in 2005, had convictions for indecent assaults on boys dating back to the 1960s, judges heard.

He had run a youth team in Stockport, Greater Manchester, but was a Blackpool fan and owned a sports shop in the resort.

Mr Justice Griffiths concluded Mr Roper had been a "Blackpool scout" and decided that his Nova Juniors youth side was a “Blackpool feeder team”.

He concluded the relationship between Mr Roper and Blackpool was one "capable of giving rise to vicarious liability".

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