Chairman warns World Cup chiefs they could be sued due to England’s small venues causing player safety concerns

Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has warned the Rugby League World Cup organisers that they are at high risk of a civil case against them.

Hagipantelis has taken aim at England’s stadiums for the World Cup and the distance between the edges of the pitch and the things that surround it – claiming it is putting the players at high risk of injury.

Australia fullback James Tedesco flew into a camera at the end of the in-goal during their win against Fiji on Saturday, with voices down under unhappy about the risk to player safety.

Most English stadiums have their stands within close proximity of the pitch, unlike most arenas in Australia, meaning there is limited space for cameras, cameramen and advertising hoardings.

This includes even some of the bigger stadiums, with World Cup Final venue Old Trafford having a major dip at the end of the in-goal due to the way the ground is laid out.

Speaking to Radio SEN, Hagipantelis explained his concerns: “The proximity of the players and the playing of the game to the surrounds is of a kind that it would have to be foreseeable a player could slide into a fence or a cameraman and suffer serious injury.

“I think they are running a seriously, seriously high risk of some litigation being brought if a player does suffer an injury of that kind, given that it has to be foreseeable that it can occur.”

Former Kangaroo Luke Lewis dislocated his shoulder during a 2013 World Cup group stage game in England, an injury that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament and half of the following NRL season.

Lewis revealed previously that people tried to persuade him to put in a claim, but his ‘love of the game’ meant he was never close to taking legal action despite missing out on a number of important career games because of the injury.

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