Athlete welfare and clear communications were key topics of discussion when a group of industry leaders met at Miller Insurance Service’s London offices to explore the secrets to reducing risk at sports events.
The invitation-only workshop saw senior leaders from major event organisers and national governing bodies get together to share knowledge, best practice and case studies. The working group comprised of CEOs, COOs, Finance Directors, Heads of Legal and other senior figures from corporate business functions in sports event delivery representing a wide range of organisations including The FA, UK Athletics, ATP Tour, Henley Royal Regatta, RLWC 2021, CSM, and the European Tour.
Athlete welfare was a major talking point of the day. Ian Braid, the former CEO of the British Athletes Commission and Founder of DOCIAsport, shared his experiences and led the discussion around both the physical and mental welfare of athletes. The conversation examined who was ultimately responsible for the athletes’ welfare in different scenarios with the group coming to a consensus that, irrespective of any contractual responsibility, more could and should be done to provide a broad duty of care to athletes at all levels.
A detailed discussion took place around event cancellation and its myriad of potential causes such as security, freak weather, political uncertainty, travel visas, and even a monarchy in their nineties. The group explored real life case studies of when they had faced this issue, how they dealt with it and key learnings with clear and efficient communications being of paramount importance.
UK Athletics CFO and COO, Jonathan Orr, commented on the benefits of sharing knowledge at the session, saying: “It is very useful because we all face similar issues and challenges as well as opportunities, so it is always good to exchange thoughts with industry peers.”
James Bett, Finance Director at The FA, added: “It is important to understand what issues others are facing and understand what similar corporations are doing in terms of event management and insurance.
“Communication is crucial; having a regular dialogue with the insurers is key with any type of event scenario.”
Taking place as part of the weeklong Sport Industry Spotlight on Events – Reducing Risk in association with Miller, the group shared business case studies in addition to discussing a range of scenarios that could affect successful and safe event delivery and how best to protect their exposure.
James Hands, Head of Sport and Entertainment at Miller, said: “Our aim at Miller is to advise our clients and provide them with the best information so they can make informed decisions about their events. Bringing together experts from a range of sports and organisations across the sector has provided invaluable learnings for us all.”