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2021

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05

Lawyer said: What legal responsibilities may the organizers of the Gansu Baiyin Mountain Marathon face due to the major accident?

On May 22nd, when the people of the whole country had not yet come out of the immense sorrow of the double star fall, the news of a major accident at the Baiyin Mountain Marathon in Gansu Province once again pierced the hearts of the Chinese people.


On May 22nd, when the people of the whole country had not yet come out of the immense sorrow of the double star fall, the news of a major accident at the Baiyin Mountain Marathon in Gansu Province once again pierced the hearts of the Chinese people.

 

As of May 23rd, among the 172 contestants participating in the mountain marathon, 21 people have died, including several capable marathon runners. It can be said that this is a major disaster in the history of marathon off-road races in China and even the world.

 

In addition to mourning and regretting the 21 lost lives, we also need to analyze the legal responsibility behind the major marathon accident from a legal perspective.

 

Marathon, as an extreme sport, should have professional requirements for the organizers and participants of the event. As a more challenging sports competition, mountain off-road racing inevitably requires higher professional standards from both participants and participants. The participation in the event, whether the organizers are professional, whether they meet the professional standards and requirements for participating in and hosting the event, are important criteria for measuring the responsibilities of all parties after an accident occurs.

 

Indeed, in today's exceptionally hot marathon events, almost all event organizers inform participants of their risks and require them to sign a disclaimer of risk and responsibility before the competition.

 

But can this statement of 'self risk' completely exempt the competition party from legal liability?

 

1、 Civil liability

 

(1) The principle of 'self acceptance of risks' does not apply to the organizers of this event

 

Article 1176 of the Civil Code of China stipulates: "If a participant voluntarily participates in cultural and sports activities with certain risks and suffers damage due to the actions of other participants, the victim shall not request other participants to bear tort liability; however, unless other participants have intentional or gross negligence in the occurrence of the damage

 

From the content of the legal provisions, it can be seen that the subject of exemption provided for in this article should be the direct participants in cultural and sports activities, and should not be extended to the organizers and organizers of the event. That is to say, the principle of "voluntary risk" in the Civil Code does not apply to the organizers of this event.

 

(2) Whether the safety guarantee obligation is fulfilled is the key to whether the competition party bears the responsibility or not

 

Article 1198 of the Civil Code of China stipulates: "If the operators, managers, or organizers of public places such as hotels, shopping malls, banks, stations, airports, sports venues, entertainment venues, etc. fail to fulfill their safety protection obligations and cause damage to others, they shall bear tort liability

Considering the nature of the marathon event, whether the organizers of this event have fulfilled their safety obligations can be comprehensively considered from the following aspects:

 

1. Is the organizer's forecast and early warning measures for weather and climate in place

 

According to news reports, the main cause of the accident in this event was extreme weather. As is well known, marathon, as a long-term outdoor activity, weather and climate conditions are key factors that must be considered by the competition team.

 

So, can the organizers of the event make a certain degree of prediction or prediction of the occurrence of extreme weather on that day before the start of the competition? Is it possible to promptly and accurately inform all participants of the weather conditions and changes on that day, and provide weather warning prompts? Is there an emergency plan or measure for severe weather?

 

In addition, on the early morning of May 22nd, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in Qinghai Province, several hundred kilometers away from the event venue. Generally speaking, after an earthquake, extreme and severe weather often occurs in the epicenter and surrounding areas. So, did the organizers of the event take into account the special factor of earthquakes? Has a professional assessment been conducted on the impact of the earthquake on the weather, climate, geology, and other aspects of the event area, which was held shortly after the earthquake occurred?

 

The first question raised by the event organizers is whether corresponding assessment, forecasting, and warning measures have been taken for the occurrence of extreme weather.

 

2. Does the setting of supply stations on the track meet the standards

 

According to reports, the CP3 station for this event is located on a ridge, which is very desolate and cannot be driven by cars, and there is no supply. So, are the supply stations set up reasonably throughout the entire event schedule, and are the corresponding supplies and rescue supplies, as well as personnel, in place?

 

The reasonable setting of supply stations is directly related to the safety and health of participants, and is an important factor in determining whether the organizers have fulfilled their safety and security obligations.

 

3. Mandatory equipment and inspection for compliance

 

According to the "Organization Standards for China Cross country Running Events" of the China Athletics Association, for special events such as high-altitude events, athletes are required to carry jackets with windproof and warm insulation effects; For competitions with a closing time greater than 12 hours, players must be equipped with portable GPS devices and required to carry them throughout the entire process. In addition, the standard also requires a mandatory equipment inspection for each participant.

 

Whether the organizers of this event have carried out mandatory equipment requirements and inspections according to standards is also an important basis for measuring whether they have fulfilled their safety obligations.

 

4. Are medical and rescue measures in place

 

According to the requirements of the event organization standards, the event organizers need to arrange sufficient rescue and medical personnel along the track to ensure timely detection, reporting, and rescue work. The adequacy of medical and rescue forces for this event, as well as the effectiveness of medical and rescue measures, will be an important factor in determining the degree of responsibility of the organizers.

 

5. Have effective emergency plans been developed

 

For sports events with certain risks, effective emergency plans are essential for organizing events. Whether a contingency plan is developed, whether the contingency plan is practical and feasible, and the specific implementation of the contingency plan in the event of an emergency will be key factors in determining whether the organizer is responsible or not.

 

If the final investigation results show that the organizers and organizers of the event have omissions and faults in the organization and safety management of the event in the above aspects, they will inevitably bear corresponding civil tort liability.

 

2、 Administrative responsibility

 

According to the provisions of China's Sports Law, any behavior that violates sports rules in competitive sports shall be punished by sports social organizations in accordance with the provisions of the articles of association; Administrative sanctions shall be imposed on directly responsible personnel among national staff in accordance with the law.

 

According to the "Management Measures for Sports Events" of the General Administration of Sport of the People's Republic of China, in the event of any violation of regulations in hosting other sports events within the "Event List" and hosted by national individual associations, the national individual association shall impose penalties on the competition area. The punishment for violating the rules in the competition area is divided into: warning, notification of criticism, cancellation of the qualification to apply for and host national sports events for 2-3 years. If there are incidents that endanger social and public safety, as well as the safety of sports events, resulting in serious social impacts due to negligence in event organization and safety, the National Association shall impose a penalty of canceling the qualification of the competition area to apply for and host national sports competitions for 2-3 years.

 

That is to say, if the investigation of this event reveals that the organizers and organizers of the event have negligence in organizing and safety, or other violations, the corresponding competition area will face the punishment of canceling the qualification to apply for and host national sports events within 2-3 years, and relevant organizational personnel and national staff will also face corresponding administrative sanctions.

 

3、 Criminal responsibility

 

Based on current news reports, the Gansu Baiyin Marathon accident does not exclude the possibility of criminal involvement. If it involves punishment, the possible charges involved are the crime of major responsibility accidents and the crime of major safety accidents in large-scale mass activities.

 

Firstly, let's take a look at the legal provisions:

 

Crime of Major Liability Accident: Article 134 of the Criminal Law: Those who violate relevant safety management regulations in production or operation, resulting in a major casualty accident or causing other serious consequences, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detention; If the circumstances are particularly heinous, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years.

 

Crime of major safety accidents in large-scale mass activities: Article 135 of the Criminal Law: If organizing large-scale mass activities violates safety management regulations, resulting in major casualties or other serious consequences, the directly responsible supervisor and other directly responsible personnel shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years or criminal detention; If the circumstances are particularly heinous, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years.

 

From the legal provisions, it can be seen that the important factors that constitute the above two crimes are both "violations of safety management regulations". To determine whether the organizers of the event have violated safety management regulations, it is still necessary to comprehensively consider weather forecasts and warnings, mandatory equipment requirements and inspections, whether the track and station settings are reasonable, whether medical rescue is in place, and whether emergency plans are in place.

 

According to relevant judicial interpretations, if this incident involves a criminal offense, the person in charge, management personnel, actual controllers, investors, and other directly responsible personnel responsible for organizing, directing, or managing the event, as well as other directly responsible personnel, will face severe legal punishment. And relevant national staff members may also be suspected of dereliction of duty crimes.

 

Behind the passing of 21 lives is the fragmentation of 21 families. This accident will inevitably have a huge impact on domestic marathon events and related activities. But learning from the painful experience and taking it as a lesson, further improving the safety guarantee work of sports events, improving the mechanism of event hosting and supervision, preventing tragedies from happening again, and allowing marathon enthusiasts to continue running safely and healthily are the best measures for the aftermath of this event.

 

Just like the sentence from running on a friend circle: "Going home safely is the end of a marathon