A footballer from Wales has been jailed for 12 months after breaking an opponent’s leg in a ‘revenge attack’.
Nicholas Williams was playing for Cefn Albion in a Welsh National League Division One Cup match last October, when the incident occurred.
Williams lost his temper when he lost out in a 50-50 tackle with AFC Brynford’s Andrew Barlow, and complained to the match referee.
However, when no action was taken, the 26-year-old took matters into his own hands – hitting Barlow with a studs up tackle around the middle of the shin.
Barlow broke both his tibia and fibula in the incident, and the match was abandoned due to the severity of the injury, and he is still receiving treatment.
Williams has been charged with grievous bodily harm, and will serve a year in prison.
The defendant claimed the incident was ‘a freak accident’, but referee Mark Stokes thought otherwise:
That challenge was probably the worst one I have seen in my time as a referee.
It wasn’t a challenge; it was a kick. There was no attempt to kick the ball.
Ten months after the horror tackle, Barlow still hasn’t been able to return to work, and regularly has nightmares after ‘seeing his leg flap from side to side’.
Leg breaks on the football pitch are nothing new, but this case marks a rare time that someone has faced criminal action for something that happened on the field.
Speaking after the incident, Det Con Rhodri Ifans of North Wales Police said:
This was a particularly callous assault which has had a huge impact on the victim.
Anyone who commits acts of violence must realise to potential seriousness of their actions and we will vigorously pursue offenders and bring them to justice.
Justice seems a strong word on first glance when it’s related to football, but on this case it is perfectly justified.
We wish Barlow a speedy recovery.