Using Fansites? Take Care What You Say

Among football fans it is very well known that the owners and supporters of Blackpool FC are not on good terms. It is also common knowledge that comments on fan websites can be very immoderate at times.

However, a recent case shows that no matter how deep the vituperative feelings are, lack of care when making online comments can prove expensive.

The case involved a comment made by a fan on the 'Fansonline' website that a solicitor employed by Blackpool FC's owners had been struck off. The comment was repeated on another football fansite. The solicitor sued the poster for libel, the claim being untrue and defamatory.

The fan claimed that very few people would have seen his post (it was published in the off season) and that the solicitor had suffered no loss of reputation as a result, because he has no client base which would be influenced by the posting and his employers would take no account of it whatsoever.

However, the Court did not agree and awarded the solicitor £18,000 for the damage to his reputation.