The most bizarre lawsuits in football
Football fans are often prone to over-reaction and exaggeration, but it looks as if one Napoli fan has topped it all.
While Juventus ran out as comfortable 4-1 winners over Torino in the Turin derby on Sunday (March 20), the Serie A league leaders were aided by some controversial refereeing by Nicola Rizzoli.
The Italian official, who is one of the country's best, incorrectly disallowed a Maxi Lopez goal for offside. If the goal had stood, it would have levelled the score at 2-2.
Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci also appeared to be lucky to remain on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes after he appeared to headbutt Rizzoli early in the second half while protesting a penalty decision.
The result allowed the Bianconeri to keep their title rivals Napoli at bay with a three-point lead at the top of the Serie A.
Rizzoli's performance irked Napoli fan Luigi Giordano so much that the lawyer says he is suing the referee.
On his Facebook page, Giordano posted: "I have done my duty as a lawyer and a Napoli fan. I now place my trust in Turin's magistrates."
While Giordano's supposed legal action seems like overkill, he isn't the only fan or institution that has turned to litigation over footballing matters.
Here are some of the lawsuits that have been bandied about in the world of football:
1. BLACKPOOL v FANS
PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES / CARL RECINE
Blackpool might be fondly remembered by English football fans for their swashbuckling approach during their first English Premier League campaign in 2010/11.
However, ever since that heady campaign which featured the likes of Charlie Adam ended in relegation back to the Championship, the Tangerines, who are now in League One, have fallen on hard times.
With weeks to go before the start of the 2014/15 Championship season, the club was forced to scramble for players after being left with just eight outfield players on their book without a goalkeeper.
To make things worse for the club's suffering and increasingly unhappy fan base, club owner Owen Oyston and his son Karl, who is the club's chairman, have been suing fans left, right and centre over perceived defamatory comments.
One fan, businessman Jeremy Smith, was sued in June last year for attending a match carrying a sign showing a newspaper cover featuring the elder Oyston with an altered headline which read: "WE ARE THIEVES".
According to details from the legal papers published by the Blackpool Gazette, Smith's actions caused or were likely to cause serious harm to the personal and professional reputations to the Oystons.
2. INJURED FAN v SUNDERLAND
PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES / LEE SMITH
Ever wondered what happens when a footballer fires a wild shot into Row Z?
In Sunderland's case, it triggered a lawsuit after a supporter was concussed during a training session.
In 2011, Niall Quinn, who was chairman of the Black Cats at the time, revealed to the BBC that the fan in question was in the midst of claiming damages from the Wearside club.
The ex-Manchester City striker said: "We had a supporter who got a bad injury.
"I'm making fun of it now, but it knocked a supporter out. It was quite serious. That supporter is in the process of suing us right now."
And the footballer at the heart of the lawsuit? The former Lord of the Manor of Frodsham and ex-Liverpool striker, Djibril Cisse.
3. SANTOS FAN v NEYMAR
In this day and age, footballers come and go so easily that one-club players have virtually gone the way of the dodo.
However, Brazilian lawyer Luciano Pereira Caparroz seemed to be unfamiliar with that truism of modern football when he decided to sue Barcelona forward Neymar back in 2014.
Caparroz, a lifelong Santos fan, was infuriated to learn that the Brazil superstar and his representatives had a pre-contract agreement in place for a move to the Nou Camp when the two sides met at the Club World Cup in 2011.
Back then, Caparroz had shelled out a considerable amount of money for a trip to Japan to catch his beloved club in action, only to see Santos crumble to a 0-4 defeat at the hands of the Spanish giants.
Brazilian media quoted Caparroz, who was seeking
£6,600 (S$12,783) in compensation to cover his expenditure and "morale damages", as saying: ""I'm a Santista, I go to all the games and I decided to travel to Japan to watch the Club World Cup.
"I was left frustrated with the result and on top of that, later on, we learned that Neymar was already sold. I feel cheated."
4. FAN v NORWICH CITY
PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
These days, it might be hard to imagine anyone getting worked up over the sale of Craig Bellamy.
However, the former Liverpool and Newcastle striker was a big deal when he made his breakthrough in England's second tier with Norwich in the late 1990s.
So when the Welsh striker was sold to Coventry City in 2000 for a club record £6.5 million fee, one fan took umbrage after he had shelled out £12,000 for an executive box at Carrow Road.
Businessman Keith Larke took the Canaries to court in a bid to get his money back because Norwich majority shareholder and TV chef Delia Smith had pledged to keep the fiery forward.
When asked if the cash-strapped club would sell Bellamy for financial reasons, Smith said: "Absolutely not. Not to balance the books. No."