Sunday, October 15, 2006

The legal perils of running a junior football team

I coach a junior soccer team and recently was asked about the benefits of setting up an accident book to cover any injuries suffered during games by our young players.

The idea was that the club could record the events and treatment provided in order to protect them if anything went wrong and a parent of an injured child became a litigation friend.

At first I thought it was a good idea but then I thought hang on - what would I do professionally with an accident book of this kind. There is no obligation to keep one but in the knowledge that there might in fact be such a book what damage could this cause? Well here's a few things that crossed my mind:

- You are creating a record that isnt legally required and yet might do untold damage if a claim is ever submitted.
- You would have to retain the record for up to 15 years or until the child reached 21 (Some kids start playing at the age of 6)

- You could potentially reveal flawed procedures or problem areas not dealt with properly by coaches or first aiders

- You might reveal a pattern of poor practice or negligence (past performance can be a feature of accident records which fall in favour of the claimant)

- What are the benefits of keeping such a book? Arse protection? If so the opposite effect might be the reality

You can probably guess that my opinion was negative when discussing this at the club committee. I sounded cynical and overly cautious but I actually meant well and said what I felt needed to be said.

They went with the idea anyway because of the fact that it looks good on the website and in club literature. Its a touchy feely kind of idea that goes down well with liberals

Lets hope the club doesnt live to regret it

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