Paul Mulderrig, who has been campaigning for more than six years to persuade the FA to introduce a policy to protect players, says it is only a matter of time before a county FA is dragged through the courts for providing inadequate cover to its players.
“On the one hand the news that the FA is to introduce a nationwide scheme represents one of the biggest changes in the arrangements for player insurance in the history of the game.
“In that sense it is great news. But they have not gone far enough and unfortunately there is still a genuine risk that some clubs will take out inadequate cover.”
The FA’s national policy is being offered to clubs in two packages priced at £18 or £39 per club per season, the former only offers legal cover for player to player injuries.
Says Mr Mulderrig: “The real problem here is that the cheaper option does not provide adequate cover. There will still be amateur players who could be unwittingly risking their entire futures — sometimes even their jobs and homes — every time they go out onto the park.
“Sadly, I have dealt with more than 20 cases in recent years of players who find themselves in just that position. All of them should have received a minimum of £25,000 in compensation but ended up with nothing.”
“However, there is a strong case to argue that because the FA has given county’s and clubs a better option they would actually be failing their duty to protect the players if they some clubs bought the cheaper, inadequate cover.
“It’s a point that I am sure will be tested in the courts in the coming months. In my view this could and should have been avoided.”
A member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Mr Mulderrig is writing to all the county FAs to warn them of the potential for legal cases.
Leading counsel, Richard Hartley QC, who has represented many players in high profile “player-to-player” injury cases agrees. He says: “I am satisfied that, given the availability of comprehensive insurance at such competitive cost, any Associations who fail to avail themselves of County Cover Plus option will face a serious risk of legal action from players who are affected by lack of cover.”
Since launching his campaign for the FA to introduce a national policy in 2006, Mr Mulderrig has lobbied successive Sports Ministers, various MPs, as well as fellow sports lawyers and barristers. He has vowed to continue his fight, urging the FA and county FAs to make the situation clear to clubs
He says: “Ultimately, I want the FA to make the cover mandatory and ensure all players are adequately protected.”
Mulderrigs http://www.mulderrigs.co.uk specialises in personal injury claims and is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel ,as well as The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. In 2011 it became one of the first in the region to be selected to a panel of legal experts approved by the brain injury association Headway.
Mulderrigs has offices in Rossendale, Manchester and London and works throughout the UK.