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Ian Ryan

Geoff and John’s big night out

Ian Ryan
Partner – Business Crime

06 April 2016

Ian Ryan highlights the potential pitfalls for sports individuals when a night out on the tiles goes wrong.

Geoff and John are fringe players for a Premier League team; Geoff an unfit third choice goalie and John a steady but always injured fullback. They both play (occasionally) for HK United, but tonight they were on top of the world as HK had won the League Cup, they had been on the bench and both had the first winners ‘medals of their long careers.

Now they were all set for a night of fun out on the tiles. The evening started in the El Dumpo club in Hemel with the rest of the squad, a bevy of girls and some hangers-on. The boys got plenty of attention from the girls and a lot of aggravation from supporters of the team’s biggest rivals, who were also in the club.

After a bit too much abuse and a lot of booze, Geoff decided to have a word with the rival fans and sauntered over to the dance floor, where the gobbiest ones were. Heading for the ring leader and after one insult too many, Geoff snapped, decking his opponent with one swipe of his huge goalie’s paw. John was soon on the scene like the sheriff and a good old fashioned brawl broke out, chairs were broken and tables smashed. The rival fans were slaughtered and ran for their lives, designer shirts torn and covered in beer. And now that they were so manly, the girls loved them even more and stayed with them for more champagne.

One petite model type seemed particularly interested in them (and particularly drunk) and at about 2 am the boys found themselves in a hotel room with her, the kit man and a video camera. She didn’t speak English and couldn’t really speak at all, but one thing led to another and they all seemed to enjoy themselves. And then they fell asleep.

The girl had gone in the morning and so had the kit man. Geoff’s head was pounding. And pounding. As if someone was knocking on the door.

“Open up, it’s the police. You are under arrest for the rape of X and GBH at the El Dumpo club. We have a statement from the victim who is 17 and the CCTV from the club. And what’s on this video camera…?”.

Rather than immediately phoning HK United’s lawyers, who would have been able to advise on what to do next, Geoff said:

“But we didn’t do anything wrong, it was self-defence at the club and X was all over us”.

Tell it to the judge,” said the cops, and off they went to the police station, a year of court hearings, expensive legal fees, bad publicity, the possible loss of sponsorship, being suspended by the club, or possibly let go if they were out of contract. Slowly it dawned on them that this was why the Boss said “Enjoy yourselves, but be careful”, and why they should have attended the talk given by HK United’s lawyers about the problems faced by professional footballers and how they should protect themselves.

Instead, they were on their way to the police station and a cell; their names were all over the press, and John would have to explain himself to his wife (and Geoff to his mum).

Howard Kennedy acts for a significant number of sportsmen and women and we understand the sports industry from both a legal and commercial perspective. We are here to help you with issues that affect your business and personal life.

Get in touch with Ian Ryan for more information on how to reduce the risk of a good night out turning sour.

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