1st Edition

Coaching, Sport and the Law A Duty of Care

By Neil Partington Copyright 2021
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    The interdependent coach-athlete relationship represents the most fundamental instance of a duty of care in sport. This book defines, analyses and clarifies the duty of care incumbent upon sports coaches and identifies important recommendations of real-world significance for coaching practice. 

    Given the dynamic relationship between coaching, sport and the law, it is imperative that coaches have an informed awareness of the evolving legal context in which they discharge their duty of care.  Detailed analysis of a coach’s duty of care has so far been lacking.  The book addresses this gap by being the first to critically scrutinise the concept of duty of care in the specific context of sports coaching. Sustained analysis of the developing case law allows the scope and boundaries of the particular duties demanded of coaches to be rigorously examined. The legal principles and court decisions discussed relate to coaching delivered in a wide range of individual and team sports, at both amateur and professional levels of performance, and include common scenarios and challenges frequently encountered by sports coaches globally.

    By adopting an interdisciplinary approach within a broader sociolegal methodological framework, this book’s detailed analysis and original insights will prove highly instructive for practising coaches, coach educators, and national governing bodies of sport. It also offers extremely valuable insights for students, teachers and practitioners involved in sports law, sports coaching, sports ethics, tort law, sports policy and development, sports studies and physical education. 



    Part I: Key Concepts


    1          Distinguishing Duties of Care of Sports Coaches

    2          Legal Duty of Care: The Law of Negligence

    3          Professional Liability of Amateurs


    Part II: Duty of Care in Context


    4          Duty of Care in the Context of Sport

    5          Duty of Care of Sports Coaches

    6          Case Study: Anderson v Lyotier


    Part III: Implications and Future Developments


     7         Implications for Coaching Practice



    Neil Partington is Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex, UK. He teaches, conducts research and has published widely in the areas of sports law and tort law. Neil holds a PhD in Law and a Masters in Legal Science (with Distinction) from Queen’s University Belfast, an MSc in Sports Coaching from Miami University (Ohio) and a BA(Ed) in Physical Education from the University of Exeter.

    "There is a cliché in sport that you should look to where the ball is going to be, not where it is now. This book very much upholds that tradition by not just identifying the scope of the duty of care in the context of sports coaching, but by importantly identifying where it should be in the future. The book is insightful and thought-provoking, and I would recommend this to anyone involved in sports coaching or management, at every level, as well as students, teachers and practitioners involved in sports law."

    Kris Lines, Senior Lecturer in Law at Aston University, UK and performance coach in gymnastics and trampolining


    "This is the book that those interested in a coach’s legal duty of care have been waiting for. It is lucid and thought-provoking and not everyone will agree with its arguments, but it is no less important for that. It is a timely contribution to a debate we need to have."

    David McArdle, Head of Law, Stirling University, UK


    "Coaches are powerful individuals in the lives of athletes in all contexts. They have the power to inspire, support, educate, and accordingly are tasked with a legal duty of care to sport participants. Existing texts have, however, rarely considered how coaches may enact their legal duties. This does not serve sports, coaches or athletes well. In response, Partington's text introduces and rigorously explains the key legal concepts relevant to all coaches. The cases he explores will help readers to apply these concepts to their own sport coaching contexts. The book therefore provides policy makers, coach educators and sport coaches with essential, robust and relevant knowledge. More importantly, the knowledge within the text will empower coaches to enact their duty of care."

    Colum Cronin, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Coaching, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK


    "The publication of this text by Neil Partington is well timed. It follows on from the review of Duty of Care in sport undertaken by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and the many investigations into the culture of performance sports in the UK. The relationship between coach and athlete was central to both. The legal and moral definition of duty of care and how it is interpreted and delivered is dynamic and ever changing. The insight and learning this book provides will help all involved in sport make better decisions about the role of coaching in the future and inform the practical delivery of duty of care. The detailed discussion provided by this text will act as a significant catalyst to bring people together to debate and discuss duty of care and will provide added strength to the crucial role of sport and physical activity to the wellbeing of our society."

    Ian Braid, founder and MD DOCIAsport, UK and former CEO of the British Athletes Commission