AN Ibiza club founded by Gary Lineker’s younger brother Wayne is facing an £8.5 million claim for damages from an ex-footballer who was left paralysed after a pool accident.
Joey Hutchinson, who helped Birmingham get promotion to England’s Premier League in 2001-2002, was found floating in a pool at the O Beach Ibiza resort in San Antonio in June 2016.
It is thought he either fell or dived in and hit his head, with the 37-year-old left paralysed after suffering spinal injuries.
He now needs round-the-clock care.
He is seeking compensation from club operator Ice Mountain Ibiza SL, which lists TV pundit Gary Lineker’s nephew Duane Lineker – Wayne’s son – among its directors.
Mr Hutchinson’s lawyers launched a compensation claim in the UK, but the club’s insurers argued that the case should be heard in Spain.
Now the judge, Mrs Justice Andrews, has decided that the case can be heard in the English courts, saying that Ice Mountain ‘deliberately targeted’ British tourists and so was subject to UK consumer protection laws.
Mr Hutchinson’s solicitor, Cheryl Palmer-Hughes of Irwin Mitchell said in a statement: “Joey suffered devastating injuries in the accident which are going to affect him and his family for the rest of his life.
“Through our investigations, we believe that there was insufficient safety advice provided to customers at the club, and the company which owns O Beach, and its insurers, have a case to answer.”
Wayne Lineker has over the years had a string of interests in pubs and clubs in Spain and further afield.
In 2006 he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for a UK tax fraud.
He avoided £90,000 tax by getting unsuspecting relatives to carry cases of cash from his Spanish clubs through airport security.