Following his call for the FA to support smaller clubs that may not have the resources to cover compensation claims for historic abuse, Peter Garsden – President of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers – has established a petition to broaden the reach of his appeal.
The petition calls on the FA and its membership to be charged a small fee on renewal of their employer’s liability insurance, which can be collated into a single compensation fund. This fund could be used to pay out any compensation claims successfully brought through the Civil Courts.
Smaller Clubs Disbanding
Campaigning for the establishment of a compensation fund, Peter argues that the small nature of many clubs means that those who suffered abuse as children while playing football find it difficult to bring compensation claims.
Likening the compensation process to that faced by former workers in British industries, Peter said:
“Football abuse survivors are in a similar position to those who worked in British industries and subsequently developed an industrial disease before the establishment of the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO).”
“For a long period of time, those who suffered an industrial disease would have to search records themselves for proof of an insurance policy for a company they may have worked for decades earlier; in many instances these companies had become insolvent or the insurance policies no long existed and had become untraceable.”
“This left many industrial disease claimants unable to receive fair compensation from their negligent employer, who had often failed in their basic health and safety requirements thus causing the claimant to develop a serious and life threatening industrial disease.”
Since its establishment the ELTO has taken this guesswork and extensive searching out of the industrial disease claims process, helping 20,000 claimants settle claims from historic insurance policies.
Peter continued by making the point that an extension of the ELTO to cover football abuse claims could be beneficial but may take years to setup and, rather than undergoing extensive lobbying of the government and insurance industry, it would be far more effective for football’s single body, the FA, to act in the interests of both its membership and those who suffered abuse while playing football as a child.
Leveraging the FA’s Unique Position
The FA holds a unique position as the single body that oversees football, at all levels, across the country. As part of his petition Peter argues that alongside the clubs themselves the FA holds part of the responsibility for failing to protect children taking part in the sport.
As such, this petition calls on the FA to make a difference and use its unique centralised position to act and accept a small levy on itself and its members to help setup a compensation fund for abuse survivors.
Such a levy could be applied to the FA and its membership at the renewal of their employers’ liability policies – a similar scheme was launched in 2015 with an insurer-funded victim support fund for people diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to past exposure to asbestos.
Explaining the need for this petition Peter said:
“While the public scandal of abuse in football hit the headlines late last year this is a problem that has been brewing underneath the sport for a long time – we’ve dealt with many cases of abuse at sports clubs and it’s often the case that it’s not the big name teams that have been reported in the media.”
“It’s often the smaller, more local teams that were negligent in their duty of care to children and it is these smaller clubs that will need the assistance of the FA and its wider membership if it is to offer fair compensation to the children they failed.”
“There are so many factors that can stop these smaller clubs paying a fair amount of compensation, they may have disbanded or merged so no longer exist to claim against, even if they do still exist they simply may not have the funds to cover compensation claims from multiple victims.”
“It is only fair for the FA to take its share of responsibility for allowing abusers to operate in their network and support these clubs, and indeed abuse survivors, by organising a compensation fund that will ensure that legitimate cases brought through the Civil Courts reach a fair and just conclusion.”
“There is precedent for the establishment of a compensation fund of this nature, so it is not beyond capabilities for the FA to push forward and deliver this protection for its wider membership on behalf of children who suffered abuse while following their hobby and taking part in football at the most grassroots of levels.”
You can sign our petition by following this link or typing the following URL into your browser https://www.change.org/p/martin-glenn-ensure-abuse-victims-have-access-to-compensation