Football club not responsible for girl's death in dugout collapse, court rules
The court in Leeuwarden acquitted Friesland football club SC Twijzel in the case surrounding a dugout collapse in 2014 in which a 10-year-old girl was killed and five other children were injured. The football club is not responsible for the girl's death and the other kids' injuries, the court ruled, NU.nl reports.
The incident happened on May 21st, 2014. The concrete roof fo a stone dug-out collapsed during a baseball tournament. The children were sitting on top of the dugout, watching the tournament. The girl was hit by the roof plate.
The dugout was damaged in a storm in 2013. According to SC Twijzel, who was in charge of maintaining the dugout, the damage did not make the structure unsafe.
The Public Prosecutor demanded a fine of 10 thousand euros, half of which conditionally suspended, accusing the football club of considerable negligence. But the court saw it differently. The board of the club was not aware of the deterioration and the risk of collapse prior to the accident, the judge ruled. After the storm, the club inspected the dugout. Some members had hung on the roof plate, which did not move. The board then concluded that the roof was safe.
In the ruling, the court considered SC Twijzel not as a professional party, but as a group of volunteers without specific legal or architectural knowledge. The club therefore had no special duty of care, according to the judge. Further periodic inspection was also not mandatory.
According to the court, the municipality of Achtkarspelen is as owner of the football field and dugouts liable for the damages under civil law. The municipality already acknowledged this and will compensate the damages.