Tens of Thousands of Grassroots Sports Clubs Affected By Winter Washout

This article, featuring Sportscover's business development director Paul Thomas was published on 27th February 2014 on One-Two Magazine website.

While this winter’s wind and rain has been good news for umbrella and anorak manufacturers, it has not been such good news for hosts of the UK’s sporting and leisure events, according to leading sports insurer Sportscover Europe. The UK is a great sporting nation at all levels of sport whether professional or amateur, but waterlogged pitches are resulting in football league games being postponed while at semi-pro or amateur level, where every penny counts, treasurers and financial controllers are counting the costs.

Thousands of grassroots sports teams have been badly affected in 2014 with many not being able to play for a number of weeks now. The challenges are numerous. Pitch hirers, to take one example, are facing a shortfall in revenue as a consequence. Will pitches be fit for purpose once waters have receded? This adds pressure to match officials when making a judgment as to whether fixtures should go ahead.

It is at grassroots levels, however, where the greatest damage is being been done. 38,000 clubs in the UK provide organised football at all levels. 67% are adults involved in the game at grass roots level. The majority of these are players, coaches, managers, administrators and volunteers, many of whom have purchasing responsibility and sit on their club committee and are crying out for practical risk management and insurance advice from insurers and their brokers. At this stage it is too soon to say what the long-term damage to the nation’s sporting infrastructure will be.

Sportscover Europe’s, Paul Thomas, said: “Before organisers can effectively prepare and protect themselves they need to undertake comprehensive risk assessments covering every aspect of an event, including flooding. A risk register will be an essential part of any plan that helps event organisers to register and assess risk. It is a tool often used in project planning and organisational risk assessment and will work in tandem with business continuity planning.

“However, while we all know that the show must go on, with the best will in the world, it can’t if a venue is 5ft under water, which is where event cancellation insurance kicks in. Event cancellation insurance and non-appearance insurance cover provides financial protection in the event of cancellation due to circumstances beyond your control or non-appearance of pre-booked entertainers that are essential to the event proceeding.

“At Sportscover, we have a dedicated team, from both an Underwriting and Claims perspective, that understands the challenges currently being faced by sports club owners, treasurers, administrators and volunteers during this difficult time. We work – hand in hand with our insurance broker partners – to provide insurance solutions that ensure the thousands of clubs in operation today can continue to enjoy insurance protection when they perhaps need it most.”