Football stars: Security

By Amrit Johal Sports legal consultant London

The alleged kidnap attempt, on 7 October 2018 in Paris, of Karim Benzema, the French professional footballer, who plays for Real Madrid, although vehemently denied by him and his lawyer, has brought into focus the question of personal security for high net worth football ‘stars’. The French Police are looking into the matter.

Benzema, described as an “immensely talented striker”, who reputedly earns around £8 million per annum, like other highly paid footballers may be potential targets for kidnapping and the payment of hefty ransoms.

Thus, more attention needs to be paid to this important aspect of managing football ‘stars’ by clubs, whose players are valuable assets in the age of million pounds transfer deals, and by players themselves, as well as by their professional representatives. In particular, security advice should be part of the package offered to players by their agents (‘intermediaries’) and their legal representatives.

High profile kidnapping targets are most vulnerable in their free time, when they feel more relaxed, and protection also needs to be offered to their families, especially their children, who may be ‘soft’ targets for kidnappers.

Such risks are not confined to the States, where abductions seem to be a daily occurrence, and they may happen anywhere at any time.

Vigilance and common-sense precautions, such as varying the daily route by players to their training grounds and not allowing their children to go to school unescorted, for example, are the name of the game!

Amrit Johal may be contacted by e-mail at ‘law@amrtijohal.co.uk’