News - COMMENTARY - Case Blum: the risks of the job?

News – COMMENTARY – Case Blum: the risks of the job?


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COMMENT – Philippe Ducarroz

Today’s Blick tells us that the Bernese defender Eric Blum has filed a criminal complaint with the Bernese courts against the Zurich man Fabrice Herzog. We remember that on February 14, 2021, Herzog had been the author of a violent charge to the head of the rear of the SCB, leaving him with in particular a broken nose and above all a concussion.

The single judge had imposed on Herzog an eight-game suspension and a fine of 11,150 francs. A big suspension and a nice fine for any repairs? Nay. The problem is that Blum, to date, has still not been able to play again, is out of contract and seems doomed to consider ending his career. Who would want a bruised player?

Then always comes back this same reflection: during a characterized aggression – which is the case here – shouldn’t the offending player also be sidelined for the duration of the victim’s unavailability? Impossible, this is enough to fuel as much controversy as the sanctions provided for in the context of Via Sicura.

Then comes into account a criterion that will remain subjective, whether we like it or not: are we really sure that the shock was indeed voluntary? Didn’t we share, on one side as on the other, a certain awkwardness? Basically, aren’t the wrongs shared? And then there are the risks of the job. Playing high-level hockey is implicitly accepting the risks of finding an unscrupulous opponent on your way, isn’t it?

The fact remains that when you take your car and a driver hits you head-on to the point of handicapping you for life, you have also implicitly accepted this risk. And the case will systematically go to court.

Eric Blum (35) has decided to take civil action and is claiming large damages. Others had done it before him. We remember the Russian of Ambrì-Piotta Petr Malkov who had been knocked out on the ice by Misko Antisin. The Zougois had been sentenced to a fine of 3,000 francs for assault and battery with eventual fraud.

Or, there are these more than 5 million francs paid by accident insurance to the Canadian Kevin Todd following a collision with Edgar Salis, which would however be cleared by the criminal court of Zug, the complaint for bodily harm was dismissed. Other cases, on the other hand, have not been concluded in court, the most publicized having been that of the now paraplegic pat schaffhauser.

In short, we do not know if Blum’s approach will be successful. What we do know is that Herzog is a tough player and often on the verge of consistency. Will Blum’s “work accident” find an attentive ear with the Bernese judge?

What we do know, however, is that voluntary or not, with consequence(s) or without, a charge against the head could then end up in court each time. Will the judges dare to take the risk of seeing the cases piling up each week on their desks?

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