ATLÉTICO MADRID

Atletico Madrid fan files lawsuit against UEFA over Champions League final result

The Atleti supporter has claimed damages and losses of €1,660 as a result of Real Madrid's "offside" Sergio Ramos goal in Milan on 28 May -- something which the claimant says unfairly "altered the game"
Sevilla-Leganés: Copa del Rey

Atletico Madrid fan files lawsuit against UEFA over Champions League final result
JAVIER GANDUL

An Atletico Madrid fan has filed a suit against UEFA claiming damages and losses as a result of the controversial Champions League Final goal scored by Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos – an incident which the claimant says unfairly “altered the game, benefiting one of the teams”.

The goal by Ramos, which was given by English referee Mark Clattenburg despite the centre back appearing to be in an offside position, put Real Madrid ahead in 15th minute of the Champions League Final in Milan on 28 May 2016, only for Atlético to equalise in the second half before losing the game to their city rivals on penalties.

The controversial incident at the heart of the claim: Ramos appeared to be offside before tapping home the opening goal of the 2016 Champions League final.

€1,660 claim 

The claim made by Rojiblanco supporter José Antonio Campón is for a total of €1,660 euros (€160 for the price of the ticket and €1500 for “moral damage” caused) and, as is written in the official suit document, fingers the blame at UEFA for “not applying all means to safeguard the fulfillments of regulations and choose persons (Clattenburg) who did not fulfill their duty as would be demanded".

Talking exclusively to AS after filing the suit, Mr. Campón stressed the need for video technology to be put into force across the game of football so such incidents won’t happen again.

"We demand the system to apply technical means that exist and are already used in other sports,” said Mr. Campón. “These errors are always to the detriment of the weak."

The Atletico season-ticket holder’s lawyer, Carlos Méndez from the firm Méndez & López de Tor, also spoke to AS and said that he believed it would only be a matter of time before video technology – which was used for the first ever time in top-level football in France’s friendly match with Italy in September – is implemented in Europe’s professional league’s permanently.

Argument for video technology 

"It's going to happen, I do not know when, but it will happen,” he said. “Standards can and should be improved. Look at tennis, where Hawk Eye initially had detractors and is now fully installed. If our claim is accepted, it will be applicable at European level and any spectator who is affected by a deception may claim. These technical means exist, but are not made available to football.”

There is a strong argument for the introduction of video technology in football

As a point of further reference, Mr. Méndez highlighted an incident from last weekend’s Madrid derby – another high-stakes match that Atleti went on to lose against Real – as an example of the argument for its introduction.

“In this last derby you could see a header from Cristiano Ronaldo that seems to have crossed the goal line," he said.

Consumer rights 

Mr. Méndez points out that such injustices or negligence wouldn’t be acceptable in other situations aside from football, such as with consumer rights or work-place regulations.

“If you go to the cinema and there is no sound, they give you back your money,” he said. “This is the same thing. There is a regulation and it has been breached. It is negligence and in your job, and when you are negligent you pay the consequences. That is why we address the claim to the employer (UEFA) and his employee (Clattenburg) as responsible.

“The ultimate goal is to change this situation and we think it is common sense. We claim a reasonable amount; it is not a question of becoming a millionaire with this."

Legiticamy of result on the line? 

Indeed the million-dollar question is: could a successful claim by Mr. Campón result in a claim over the legitimacy of the game’s result? Unsurprisingly, and unfortunately for the still many indignant Atletico fans, the answer is no – something which the supporter and his lawyers say has been assessed but ultimately accepted.

“Legally we do not have the active legitimacy, only the club has that. But it has been assessed. The club knows about this claim, but has preferred to stay out of it," answered Méndez, who along with his client is waiting for a response on the admission process before the end of the year.

If successful, it could help provide another step towards the inevitable and long-awaited introduction of video technology into professional football. "We only claim that the rules, which exist, are met," concludes Mr. Méndez.