Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that every player has to cope with injuries during his professional career. This might not only be a setback for the sporting performance, but also on the financial side. Even for those who played for several seasons in an European top league, financial difficulties are never far away when confronted with a career-ending injury. Most players are not aware of the risks they face every day. When confronted with a long-term injury, recovery should be the only thing on the players’ mind.
Therefore it is crucial for players to receive clear information regarding their rights and obligations when being injured and how an insurance could cover these risks.
In order to protect the player and give him proper advice, one must not only have excellent knowledge of the insurance market, it’s also extremely important to be familiar with the details of the applicable law of each single country.
What follows is a brief explanation of some basic principles for some leagues in Europe regarding the arrangement for players whilst injured.
If a player should sustain an injury or illness, which prevent him from playing, the club is only obliged to pay the player his salary for 42 days. It’s clear that this is a very short period. Therefore players usually purchase an additional insurance.
In case of a career-ending injury the player can even terminate his contract with immediate effect. A player in the German Bundesliga has a high risk and is in need of advice to handle with these risks.
Spain: La Liga
When seriously injured, a player in the Spanish league receives his salary up to 18 months, which might be prolonged by another 6 months in order to rehabilitate full fitness. It is important to stress that this arrangement only counts for injuries that are related to football activities.
If it is an injury away from club duty (i.e. car accident) the club can terminate the player’s contract with immediate effect, with no further payments.
United Kingdom: Premier / Football League
In the English Premier League and the Football League, there is a different regulation depending on the fact whether or not the injury was sustained under club duty. In the case of an injury sustained under club duty, the club pays for the player his basic salary for 18 months. For the remaining period before recovery, the club is obliged to pay only 50 % of the salary.
If a player should sustain an injury away from club duties or an illness, the club will pay the players basic salary for up to 12 months. For the remaining period before recovery the club is obliged to pay 50 % of the salary.
When a player suffers permanent incapacity or when he is unable to play resulting from the same injury or illness for a period amounting to eighteen months in any consecutive period of twenty months the club shall be entitled to serve a notice upon the player terminating this contract. The length of such notice shall be twelve months in the case of incapacity by reason of a player injury and six months in every other case (i.e. car accident).
France: Ligue 1
In France the club will only pay the player his salary for a maximum of three months when the player is injured or ill.
If the player faces a career-ending injury, the situation is even worse: the club can terminate with immediate effect the player his contract. The severance payment is only 40% of a monthly salary, multiplied by the number of seasons the player has played at that club.
Italy: Serie A
In Italy the club pays the player his basic salary for up to 6 months. After this period the club can reduce the salary up to 50%, until the player has rehabilitated. In case of a career-ending injury the club can terminate the contract after 6 months, with no further salary payable.
Belgium: Jupiler Pro League
In case of an injury, the player will in general keep on receiving his salary for only 6 months. The next 6 months the club shall be obliged to pay an additional EUR 1.500 on top of the income to which the player is entitled from his insurer. It’s clear that a severe injury (e.g. knee ligament injuries) will cause problems for a player if he isn’t properly advised.
In the Netherlands there is a system that secures a player of full payment while being injured. If a player can’t play due to illness or injury, he will receive his salary, even if the injury is a career-ending one. This system is a good example for other countries because it’s clear that the Dutch system ensures good protection for the player. The Dutch system shows that there are flaws in the other leagues their system regarding this issue when analysed from the players’ perspective. As long as there is no improvement in these other countries, the player has every interest of professional advice.
Important note for all countries:
Of course there are more pitfalls related to sports insurances (e.g. some sport insurances don’t cover all countries, e.g. not all ages and all injuries are covered by some sport insurances, e.g. the insured sum), that’s why Stirr Associates provides clients essential customised advice.