Football in Ossett in 'jeopardy' over £135k legal bill as council expresses 'concerns' over case

Ossett United was formed as a merger between Ossett Town and Ossett Albion in 2018.
Ossett United was formed as a merger between Ossett Town and Ossett Albion in 2018.

The future of football in Ossett has been put in "jeopardy" over a £135,000 compensation bill for an opposition player who broke his ankle, one of the area's councillors has claimed.

Reece Welsh was awarded the sum for damages and legal fees in a potentially landmark case, after he injured himself playing against Ossett Town for semi-professional Radcliffe Borough in 2015.

The club play at Ingfield, formerly the home of Ossett Town.

The club play at Ingfield, formerly the home of Ossett Town.

Ossett Town and Ossett Albion merged in 2018 to form Ossett United, who are now liable to pay the bill.

The club warned in November that it may have to sell its Ingfield home if it was unable to crowdfund the compensation. Two months on, a GoFundMe page has raised just £5,600 of the £135,000.

Now, Wakefield Council has said it will look into the case to see if it can offer any support to the club, currently playing in English football's eighth tier, after ward councillor Nick Farmer raised the issue at a meeting on Wednesday.

Coun Farmer said: "The league's recommended insurance policy didn't protect Ossett from damages or legal fees.

Coun Jacquie Speight said she was concerned by the case.

Coun Jacquie Speight said she was concerned by the case.

"This case has massive implications for sports clubs in our district and every sports club in the country.

"It's put the future of football in the town in jeopardy. There's a strong possibility the ground may have to be sold to fund the court order.

"Please could (the council) advise what support, if any, they may be able to offer."

Councillor Jacquie Speight, the authority's portfolio holder for leisure said she would "take a look" at the issue and report back.

She added: "Ossett is the football capital of the Wakefield district.

"I have read about the case and I do have a lot of concerns about it."

Local Democracy Reporting Service