A club has recently faced an insurance claim from a member who was injured defending a penalty corner. The insurance company defended the claim and it was taken to the County Court. The insurance company lost the case and the member was awarded damages. The decision was based on a particular set of circumstances and was not a decision on whether facemasks are essential at penalty corners. In this case the club had committed to providing facemasks and on the occasion in question the court concluded they were not available. The member claimed that they had relied on the club providing the facemask.
England Hockey has sought legal advice and this has confirmed the importance of clubs (or any other organisation) following through on any commitment to provide them. If a club has undertaken a risk assessment, identified the solution (the club provides the facemasks) they need to ensure they are available. The club may well decide that an alternative solution lies in the hands of members and they are clearly and regularly advised to provide their own facemasks and that is equally acceptable. This case focused only on a narrow set of circumstances where it was decided that the club failed to deliver on its commitment to provide facemasks.
England Hockey will continue to monitor the legal advice to ensure its guidance remains up to date. Facemasks can prevent serious injury and we recommend that they are worn at penalty corners.
Any questions regarding this please email EH