Intro, why should we listen to you about this? Why is it interesting?
Do Premier League players get paid whilst injured? Premier League football players are members of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and as such have very strong Union contract rights. Premier League & EFL players will be paid their full contracted salary for at least 18 months while sidelined with injury or illness. Following this the club has the right to reduce their contract to half wages if they feel it is required. If the player is considered to have a permanent incapacity as confirmed by an independent medical examination, the club has the right to terminate the contract, giving 12 months notice.
With the basic rules for Premier League players laid out above you can see that they are well looked after. How does this compare to other nations’ club players? Can players take out insurance to protect their own incomes? How do semi-pro players fare in lower leagues? Do clubs need insurance to protect these multi million pound assets?
How do other Nations Leagues treat injured players?
In Europe’s other big leagues players seem to fare less well than in the Premier League. Except in Holland where the club is obliged to pay up a players contract in full. We break down the basic player injury rules below.
In Spain an injured player gets their salary for up to 18 months, which might be prolonged by another six months while they return to full fitness. This only applies for injuries related to football activities.
In Germany if a player cannot play through injury or illness, the club is only obliged to pay their salary for 6 weeks.
In France it is three months and if the player suffers a potentially career-ending injury, the club can terminate his contract immediately, with a severance payment of 40% of the monthly wage times the number of seasons the player has been contracted to the club.
In Italy players receive contracted salary for up to six months, after which point it can be halved until the player has recovered, or the contract is terminated if their injury is career-ending.
In Holland if a player can’t play through illness or injury, their salary will still be paid for the full contracted length even if the injury could curtail the player’s career.
Can Premier League football players insure their income against injury?
Yes, this is a common and advised practice. Professional Football player careers are highly paid, but very short and volatile to injury risk. It is prudent for players to sacrifice a small portion of their salary to pay for income protection insurance. One such supplier is Pro-secure, working in Partnership with the PFA Pro-secure offers Premier League and EFL players insurance against injury. It’s website indicates players could receive up to 5x their annual salary as a tax free lump sum payout should their career be cut short by injury. It also lists the following benefits.
While other providers are available, their link to the PFA suggests they would be a good option, taken up by many football players.
Do Premier League Clubs have insurance for injured players?
In a similar vein, Premier League clubs will take out insurance to protect their “financial asset” (the player) against injury. These policies will be bespoke and vary depending on the club and player. In recent transfer windows Chelsea have spent almost £1.5 billion on players who are mostly under 23 years old. You can imagine that they have taken steps to insure these assets against career ending injuries and illness.
These policies would be to protect the asset value and the potential wage expenditure that the club would be obliged to take on should the player be unable to continue their playing career. It would not be a policy that the player themselves would benefit from.
Do professional female players get paid while injured?
Ahead of the 2022-23 season the FA announced that they had been part of agreeing improved benefits for female players.
These included an increase in maternity leave pay and a change to the pay injured players receive, that put them on level footing with their professional male counterparts.
“The new maternity policy will form part of a club’s licensing agreement, and must be offered to players to ensure license criteria is met. The other uplifts will form part of a revised Standard Contract for Women’s Football.
Under the new policy, a player going on maternity leave will be paid 100 per cent of her weekly wage, as well as any other remuneration and benefits for the first 14 weeks, before reverting to the applicable statutory rate.
This is a considerable uplift on the current minimum of statutory, and would previously have only applied to players who had been employed by their club from a minimum of 26 weeks. The new policy will have no qualifying period.“
In addition the FA.com statement said the following;
“The new agreement will also see players receive long-term sickness pay that mirrors the men’s game in all new contracts.
Players will now receive their basic wage for the first 18 months if an injury occurs, then one half of their wage for the length of the injury thereafter. Previously, players received six months’ pay.
There will also be more protection for players relating to termination of contract as a result of injury. If a player has been incapacitated for injury or illness for a period of 18 months in a consecutive period of 20 months, a club can be entitled to serve notice, with the length of any notice being 12 months. Prior to this, the notice period was three months.”
English National League Players
While the above news was great for the women’s game, there was less good news for the semi-professional game. An announcement from the PFA expressed concern to planned changes to the standard contract National League players sign.
“From 1st July 2023, significant changes are being made to Non-League contracts.
The introduction of new Non-League contracts will affect the rights and salaries of players who are ill or injured, and the ability of clubs to terminate contracts if a player suffers a long-term injury. The PFA said it cannot support the introduction of the new contract as they believe it is inferior to the current Non-League player contract.
Under the previous established National League contract:
“If a player suffers an injury, they continue to be paid their full wages for the duration of their contract. A player’s contract can be terminated by their club, with notice, if they suffer permanent incapacity (as established by an independent medical examination).”
Under the new contract:
“If a player suffers a playing injury, they will only receive their full wages for 12 weeks (if a National League National Division player) or 6 weeks (if playing below the National League National Division). If the player is still ill or injured after this initial period on full wages, the club can reduce their wages to Statutory Sick Pay until they are fit again. Statutory Sick Pay is currently £99.35 per week and is payable for up to 28 weeks. These new terms will be referred to in the new contract as ‘Club Sick Pay’. Under the terms of the new contract, a player’s contract can be terminated (with 3 months’ notice) if, in the opinion of a club-instructed medic, the player is unable through injury or illness to play for a period of four months.”
The PFA does not have an agreement in place with the FA or the League to represent National League players as their recognised trade union. The PFA says that almost 80% of National League players are former PFA members and so they feel they have a stake in the fight, although no authority to negotiate on players behalf.
The PFA believe the new Non-League contract represents a reduction in player rights.