Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) recently prevailed in a case involving Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) insurance obligations to A-League players.

The PFA has worked tirelessly to ensure that players receive all payments including their annual salary, match payments and superannuation even when injured.

Insurance for all A-League players has been a key requirement of the CBA and the PFA has previously expressed its concern should FFA ever fail to implement its fundamental obligation to insure all A-League players under the CBA.

The A-League CBA states that “FFA must establish and maintain such insurance as is necessary to cover the remuneration and entitlements of a League Player payable under his Standard Player Contract (including Annual Salary, Match Payments and superannuation) for the period of any injury, illness or ailment sustained arising out of or in the course of his employment with a League Club.

Such cover must continue for a period of not less than 104 weeks from the date of the injury, illness or ailment and notwithstanding the expiry or termination of the Player’s Standard Player Contract for any reason.”

Arbitrator Simon Phillips held that the “the insurance cover effected by FFA did not satisfy FFA’s obligation under [the collective bargaining agreement]” because:

1) the FFA had failed to purchase the top-up insurance required to cover the player’s actual salary and

2) “[i]t  only provided limited cover for reimbursement of non-recoverable medical expenses totalling $2,000 when the actual expenses incurred by the Player and payable by the Club under the Contract (if extended) was substantially greater than that amount”.

FFA was directed to pay the Player the difference between what he received in insurance payments and what he would have received had FFA purchased insurance that complied with the A-League collective bargaining agreement.

While the current insurance policy differs in some respect from the one in this case, this decision is important because it makes it clear that the FFA is ultimately responsible for paying costs that the insurance policy should cover, but does not, under the CBA.