GLIN Rovers soccer club intends to appeal against a court decision in which a local man was awarded €12,600 and costs after he sued the club over a lottery jackpot which he claimed he won.
The case was heard over two days in Limerick Circuit Court last week.
While finding in favour of the plaintiff, Judge Eugene O’Kelly commented that the soccer club is “ likely to be in financial difficulty” as a result of the case.
He said his decision had the potential to divide the community, friendships and may possibly have a detrimental effect on community life in Glin.
The case was brought by Michael Wallace, Upper Tullyleague, Glin who claimed he bought three tickets for the club lotto for a date in February 2013 and that the club was negligent in not including all tickets in the draw.
The club’s case was that Mr Wallace bought only one ticket and this ticket was included in the draw but was not the winning ticket and therefore they could not pay out the jackpot. However, Judge O’Kelly, who commented favourably on the integrity and truthfulness of all the witnesses, accepted that Mr Wallace had bought three tickets. He did not accept an argument by counsel for the club that a lottery was gambling and therefore any winnings could not be enforced.
A spokesman for the club told the Limerick Leader this week they were disappointed with the decision and now intend to lodge an appeal.
Mr Wallace however told the Limerick Leader: “They can appeal away. I think I am in the right all the time. I am not worried.
“I don’t feel anything against anybody,” Mr Wallace went on, when asked about the judge’s comments about the potential for division in the community. “I only want my rights.”
A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland confirmed they had sent an observer to attend the court case but said that, in the light of a pending appeal, they did not wish to comment.
Meanwhile, however, the officers from other sports clubs which depend for much of their funds on running weekly lotteries have voiced some concerns.
One officer from another club said the court decision had raised huge issues for them. It was clear, he said, that “you can’t be careful enough”.
An officer from a soccer club in another parish was also concerned. “We feel we have great controls in our system,” he said, “but the question is are they good enough?”
They would look at their controls again, he said, but he felt the court case would make other clubs nervous.
“We have never had a bother,” he said. “But maybe we might have to give up altogether.”
Judge O’Kelly put a stay on his order on condition that €5,000 be paid to Mr Wallace immediately and that a further €5,000 be paid to his solicitor pending the outcome of any appeal.