By Nick Harris
9 January 2010
The majority of the footballers at the African Nations’ Cup are uninsured by their national associations for “catastrophic” events including terrorist attacks and kidnapping.
The responsibility for such insurance thus falls onto individual clubs, and several Premier League players currently in Angola for the tournament are not covered because the price of policies was deemed prohibitively high.
In the event of an incident such as the one on Friday when gunmen shot at a bus carrying the Togo squad – killing the driver, and injuring nine people, including two players, seriously – those Premier League players would not be able to claim compensation.
In the event of a fatality or an injury that prevented the player from playing again, neither would their clubs be able to claim for the loss of their assets, worth millions of pounds, or tens of millions in some cases.
One Premier League club, which asked not to be name for obvious reasons, said it was quoted £35,000 for a “high risk” policy for players for the duration of the tournament. “That seemed an outrageously high figure and we did not take out that policy,” a source said. “After what’s happened, I’d guess the same policy now costs three or four times as much, but we’re not covered, and that’s that.”
The English Football Association is believed to be the only FA in the world that routinely covers all its players on international duty against “pretty much any eventuality you can think of”, as one source put it.
If a player is injured or otherwise incapacitated on England duty, the FA’s policies – with multiple insurers, costing “millions a year” in premiums – allow payments to the player’s club of up to £100,000 per week for up to 100 weeks’ absence, and there are provisions for “permanent loss”.
Most national FAs, including those represented at this month’s ANC, have some cover for routine injuries. “But 95 per cent of the players at the African Nations Cup right now will not be covered by their national associations for terrorism and the like,” said a source familiar with the subject.
The British clubs with players at the tournament are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackpool, Bolton, Burnley, Celtic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Hibernian, Hull, Leeds, Manchester City, Newcastle, Plymouth, Portsmouth, QPR, Rangers, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan.
Each club has made its own decision on the level of cover for its players. West Bromwich Albion, for example, currently have Abdoulaye Meité away on duty with the Ivory Coast, and a club spokesman said: “The cover we have in place for him is adequate, covering injury and catastrophic events. If he’s injured, or worse, we’re indemnified.”
But more than one Premier League club said they were uncertain quite what their players are covered for, while at least one other knows they are not covered.
Togo have today pulled out of the tournament as a result of Friday’s shootings.