Legal liability of coaches: a UK perspective

Neil Partington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
1363 Downloads (Pure)


Attracting more coaches is fundamental to achievement of the European dimension in sport and the further promotion of sport in the European Union. Given the emerging relationship between the law and sports coaching, recruitment of such volunteers may prove problematic. Accordingly, this article critically considers the legal liability of sports coaches. To inform this debate, the issue of negligent coaching is critically scrutinised from a UK perspective, uncovering a number of distinct legal vulnerabilities facing volunteer coaches. This includes the inherent limitations of ‘objective reasonableness’ when defining the standard of care required in the particular circumstances. More specifically, fuller analysis of the justification of customary practice, and the legal doctrine of in loco parentis, reveals important ramifications for all organisations providing training and support for coaches. In short, it is argued that proactively safeguarding coaches from professional liability should be a priority for national governing bodies, and, following the recently published EU Work Plan for Sport for 2014–2017, the Expert Group on Human Resource Management in Sport. Importantly, given the EU’s supporting, coordinating and supplementing competence in developing the European dimension in sport, a Commission funded project to address the implications of the ‘compensation culture’ in sport is also recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Sports Law Journal
Issue number3
Early online date15 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Legal Liability
  • Sports Coaches
  • Volunteer
  • Negligence
  • Professional Liability


Dive into the research topics of 'Legal liability of coaches: a UK perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this