What is a football risk assessment and why are they important?

October 14, 2022

Football is a beautiful game, and it’s one of the simplest sports around to play and to understand, making it highly accessible to anyone wanting to become a coach.

But it isn’t without its risks, whether playing in competitive matches, or taking part in training or coaching sessions. Because of those risks, in order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, a thorough risk assessment is now a must before all football activity.

In this guide, we’ll explore the football hazards and risks that are most common, what should be included within a football risk assessment, and why getting insurance through specialist football cover is essential.

What kinds of football hazards and risks are there?

Football is just players, a ball, a goal and a pitch, right? Well, from a risk perspective, think again. Once you start to dig a little deeper into all the things that are needed to run matches or training, the risks soon mount up. They include (but are not necessarily limited to):

– Playing conditions: slip or trip hazards caused by an uneven or excessively wet surface

– Goalposts: the risk of poorly maintained posts collapsing, or a player colliding with them

– Corner flags: the risk of injury caused by flags that are too tall, too pointy, or that are placed in the ground too rigidly

– Kit and equipment: injuries caused by a lack of shin pads, the wrong type of studs in boots, or the wearing of jewellery

– Surrounding area: the risk of neighbouring property being damaged by stray balls, e.g. broken windows

While other risks may exist in more specific circumstances, the above will apply in the vast majority of cases as a bare minimum, emphasising the need for a football risk assessment.

Creating a football risk assessment

A good football risk assessment should list all of the potential risks associated with the activity in question, no matter how trivial some of them may seem. Against each risk, you should list the people who could be exposed to that risk (e.g. players, coaches, officials, other staff, people in the surrounding area).

Each risk should then be given a rating, depending on how likely it is to happen and how severe the impact would be if it did. These can be on a star scale of one to five (with five being the biggest risk) or on a scale of low, medium and high risk. As a guide, the lowest ratings should be given to highly unlikely events that would only occur in exceptional circumstances, and the highest to events that would have a major impact and/or have occurred regularly in the past.

Once these risk ratings have been completed, you can then determine the appropriate control measures to put in place to mitigate each one. For example, if there is a risk of breaking windows of neighbouring properties, then potential control measures could be to erect netting to catch errant balls, or simply to avoid taking shots in that direction by using alternative goals or pitches. The ultimate aim of the control measures is to reduce the risks to as low a level as possible.

What else should you consider around risks and football?

Firstly, it’s important to remember that your arrangements, environment and conditions won’t stay exactly the same from one match or training session to the next. That’s why risk assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis to see if everything relevant is included, and why they should always be revisited in the event of a change of venue or equipment.

If you run an organised football business that employs at least five coaches, then you are required by UK law to record the details of your risk assessment in writing and demonstrate that you have reviewed them on a regular basis.

Both of these activities should form part of general good practice with regards to football health and safety, another important part of which is taking out an insurance policy with specific football cover.

Get football cover with Protectivity

When you take out football cover with Protectivity, you can be sure that you, your staff and your players are insured for every eventuality. Our range of policies include up to £10million of Public Liability insurance, along with cover for equipment, Professional Indemnity and participant injury liability, Available at affordable rates and through flexible payment plans, they can help you keep everyone covered without breaking the bank. Explore our football cover in more detail here.

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