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£6.2 billion of insurance for world’s biggest sports spectacle


The most watched sporting event in the world, the football World Cup, will be insured to the tune of an estimated £6.2bn when it kicks off in less than a week according to Lloyd’s, the world’s leading specialist insurance market.

Only war has prevented a World Cup taking place since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Today the eyes of the world are on every game and with so much at stake, FIFA, broadcasters, the teams and the many other organisations with a financial interest take out insurance cover to protect against cancellation or other interruption.

While the focus is undoubtedly on the players, fans and footballers alike are keen to know that injuries and illness won’t jeopardise their chance for glory.

A player at the height of their career and playing in one of the top leagues for their country could be insured for £50 million, according to Peter Thompson, underwriter at Beazley. Assuming there are no pre-existing conditions, £40 million of this insures their entire body for sports disability, including accidental death and permanent total disablement, 24 hours a day.

And it’s not just their antics on the pitch that people are interested in. A player’s image can make or break their celebrity status and clubs need to insure their reputation as much as their feet to generate lucrative merchandise sales. Dan Trueman, underwriter at Kiln, estimates a footballer’s brand to be worth around £10 million.

The stadiums have also been the subject of much scrutiny with major renovations having been carried out on five existing ones, and five new ones being built around South Africa to accommodate the 2.75 million ticket holders.

Brian Oxley, Insurance Manager for the Organising Committee at FIFA, says that the combined value for these stadiums and training venues amounts to £3.2 billion.

But it’s not just sport that needs to be considered, with businesses around the world heavily involved. Competitions and offers are springing up everywhere and when it comes to contingency, Chris Nash, active underwriter at Sportscover, says there is a vast range of potential coverage:

“Competitions, offers, prizes, sponsorship, broadcast rights; it’s impossible to know how many there are, but all companies with these financial implications need coverage. When you take this into account along with the number of broadcasters around the world airing the games, I’d probably estimate the whole thing at around £3 billion.”

So as millions of fans around the world tune in from 11 June, FIFA, broadcasters and advertisers, national associations, clubs and players can have assurance that insurance is there to help them watch and play the beautiful game.


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