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Who pays for international footballers' injuries?


Robin Van Persie got injured playing for Holland, and Arsenal lost a star player. Arsenal were not entitled to compensation. The Dutch FA does not take out insurance for this.

Michael Owen got injured playing for England, and Newcastle (his team at the time) got compensation. The English FA does take out insurance for this.

How long can this lack of consistency go on for?

It's not an easy one - many countries would struggle to afford the premiums of their Premiership players. They are not obliged at present to take out policies so will avoid doing so.

The reality is that clubs will continue to be liable for injuries suffered by most players on international duty.

It gets more complicated: FIFA and UEFA will compensate clubs if a player is injured in a World Cup or European Championship tournament, but not in a qualifier or a friendly.

So, what can clubs do?

They could in theory refuse to let their players play for their country. However, this would break FIFA rules and clubs that do this could lose points when that player played for the club.

Clubs in theory could not play someone for the duration of a tournament and not lose points. No clubs seem to have done this yet, but if they did, it would cause problems for international football.

One suggestion is to set up a pool of insurance where all countries' FAs would pay on a sliding scale to cover for the risk of a footballer getting injured.

So, while the action takes place on the pitch in South Africa later this year, spare a thought for the club managers, lawyers and risk professionals keeping a close eye on their players...
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