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Asian Student's Family to Take Civil Action Against English Football Stars for Beating - 2001-12-21

The family of an Asian student who was beaten and seriously injured by a drunken mob has announced plans to take civil action against English soccer stars Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and their club, Leeds United.

The family of Sarfraz Najeib said Thursday it will allege that the attack was racially motivated, an element which was ruled out at two lengthy criminal trials which ended last week. Although the two players were cleared by a jury of causing grievous bodily harm to Najeib, both admitted they were drunk, and Woodgate was found guilty of affray (fighting).

Civil action will also be taken against three other men: Neale Caveney, Paul Clifford and Tony Hackworth. Woodgate and Caveney were convicted of affray for their part in the chase of Najeib and his friends and sentenced to 100 hours community service. Clifford was convicted of both charges and sentence to six years in jail. Hackworth was cleared of assault during the first trial earlier this year. Family spokesman Suresh Grover said Najeib was still suffering 23 months after the attack. He described last week's court verdicts as "illogical," and said the family would continue its search for justice by pursuing damages against the players and the club.