Soccer player gets one year in jail for vicious leg-breaking tackle

Jail is really the ultimate red card. (Photo by Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

A soccer player, Nicholas Williams of Wrexham, Wales, has been jailed for 12 months after a breaking an opponent's leg in a “revenge attack” during a Welsh National League Division One cup match in October.

Williams was playing for Cefn Albion against AFC Brynford and allegedly became aggrieved with opponent Andrew Barlow, complaining to the referee following a 50-50 challenge, according to reports. A half hour into the match, Williams took matters into his own hands, launching into a brutal tackle that left his victim's leg so badly broken, his toes “were touching his knee.” The match was abandoned after the incident.

A Caernarfon court jury unanimously concluded the tackle was deliberate and a judge convicted 26-year-old Williams to 12 months in prison for grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutor Elen Owen reportedly argued that Williams was out for revenge on Barlow, asking the defendant: “You wanted to hurt him, didn't you?”

According to Barlow: “He was getting angry. He was shouting at me … I saw Williams coming towards me from behind on my right … I tried to jump out of the way. I couldn't get high enough out of the challenge. He's caught me with his studs in the middle of my shin. All I remember was looking up and seeing my leg flopping and going into the ground.”

Williams attempted to defend himself, saying, “It was just a freak accident. I just gave it the extra bit more and his leg snapped. I got up and heard him scream.”

Match referee Mark Stokes saw it otherwise though, giving a damning indictment of the tackle: “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.”

According to his lawyer, the injured Barlow is still unable to return to work after 10 months. He was forced to have rods inserted in his leg, and suffered from nightmares after seeing his leg “flap from side to side.”