The FIFA World Cup is about the players and teams but, as it has developed as a global football celebration, it is not only the stars on the pitch who have a role to play. While these players benefit from sophisticated round-the-clock security, the same is not always true for the other big football names who help make the competition what it is today.
As Russia 2018 builds towards its climax with the final in Moscow on Sunday, commentators are already reflecting on a tournament made memorable by the excitement and unpredictability of the football which has captivated fans worldwide.
And that’s how it should be. The FIFA World Cup is about the players and teams but, as it has developed as a global football celebration, it is not only the stars on the pitch who have a role to play.
Take a look around the Russia 2018 venues, in the broadcast studios, sponsors boxes and hospitality areas and you’ll find an army of leading coaches and big name former players employed as pundits by TV companies or sponsors who know the powerful impact global greats can bring to their brands.
These are high-profile, high-value individuals who are often much-loved household names, in their own countries at least.
And while the players taking part in the tournament benefit from sophisticated round-the-clock security and are protected even when they take a short walk outside their match-day hotels, the same is not generally true for the other big football names who help make the FIFA World Cup what it is today.
In an uncertain world where the threat from criminal activity or terrorism is ever-present, this group may be more vulnerable than the teams themselves to attack or kidnap while on World cup duty.
While the prospect of kidnap may at first seem somewhat extreme, the reality is there is a potential risk to any high profile and wealthy individual and it is just one of a range that should be considered by the talent themselves and the sponsors and broadcasters that employ them.
For while the threat of violence and kidnapping is at one end of the scale, the possibility of sustaining an injury or loss while on duty is ever present. Temporary TV studios and broadcast positions at stadiums are nowadays built to the highest standards, but they are workplaces and accidents can and do happen, potentially putting high-value broadcast talent off the air and causing them to lose earnings from various sources.
Travel, whether by road, air or rail, on the scale required by a massive event like Russia 2018 where venues are hundreds , even thousands, of miles apart is another area of risk; whether of injury in an accident or loss of possessions or valuable equipment as a result of negligence or theft.
The FIFA World Cup, like other major sports events, involves thousands of people who never set foot on the field of play and each face a range of hazards in doing their jobs. But the coaches and ex-pros who make up the army of the pundits and sponsors’ ambassadors are perhaps the most prominent of them and are subject to an additional risk burden because of their high profile.
However, insurance can be designed to cover the risks they face. In addition to travel cover that we are all generally accustomed to, policies can be designed to provide support to individuals or their families involved in kidnapping or extortion events and can cover ransom payments, response consultants and fees as well as lump sum benefits in the event of injury. As major events continue to venture further into developing countries and the accompanying entourage are asked to follow on, quite often out of their travel comfort zone, specialist insurance can give some "security" to individuals and their employees as they focus on doing their job.
David began his insurance career in 1991. He worked in a variety of roles focussing on sport from 1997 onwards. He specialises in core niche insurance lines for sports risks including cancellation and abandonment, personal accident and liability. David’s experience stretches across all professional and amateur sport including multi-sport global events and mass participation events. David qualified as an Associate of the Institute of Risk Management in 1995. At Miller, David takes a leading role in the management and development of the sports book.
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