Football player car crashes: Alcohol main cause for lack of insurance payouts

Drink and drugs have – in some cases – been blamed for early-hour crashes

As the country reels from another PSL player fatality – TS Galaxy’s Thembinkosi Mbamba died in a car crash last weekend – it has emerged that not all of the league’s player insurance claims have been successful.

Although the cause of the accident that claimed Mbamba (23) remains unknown, investigations of other car crashes involving players returned adverse results because the individuals were found to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The PSL’s football manager of operations, Professor Ronnie Schloss, said alcohol was one of the common factors that resulted in some of the claims being repudiated.

The PSL has insured all the members in its 32 clubs across the premier and first divisions.

“The league pays monthly premiums on behalf of all our member clubs and payouts are distributed on a 50-50 basis,” he said, adding that payouts were determined by the player’s salary.

Although he withheld the identities of players and clubs concerned, citing the sensitivity and confidentiality of the matters, Schloss said the PSL disbursed about R14.9 million in its financial year that ended last July.

“Most of the claims have been paid dating as far back as 2012, but there have been cases when a player was drunk or there was use of drugs,” said the forthright veteran administrator.

Schloss said the outcome of a 2015 case proved that the player was under the influence of alcohol.

Professor Ronnie Schloss. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

“The results were that the player had been drinking. In this case, the club loses out and the player’s family loses out.

“It’s the same as any other insurance policy, when, if there is something illegal, the insurance company won’t pay,” he said.

Other than the aforementioned incident, there are other cases that are outstanding between 2017 and this year, all on different merits and demerits.

“In 2012, there were five claims and none was repudiated, but one is still outstanding because there are some blood samples missing,” said Schloss.

Mbamba is the latest in a worrying number of PSL players who have died in car crashes – mostly in the early hours of the morning over weekends.

In April, Free State Stars winger Sinethemba Jantjie died in a horrific accident in Bethlehem, Free State, very early on a Monday morning.

Schloss explained how the process to claim from the insurance works: “The insurance company appoints an assessor, who then waits for the report from the coroner.

“We also get our doctor to look at the report.

“Payout is based on the earnings of a player and half goes to the club. Some of the clubs top up the insurance because players are their assets.”

Schloss said the league was still waiting for the outcome of the assessors’ investigation into what could have led to the crash that claimed Jantjie’s life.

The 30-year-old died four years after another Stars player, striker Richard Henyekane, died in a car crash in April 2015 when he collided with a truck.

Ajax Cape Town lost their defender Cecil Lolo in a head-on collision the same year.

Last year, tragedy struck Percy Tau’s household when his brother, Polokwane City defender Mogau Tshehla, died in a car crash in February.

Late last year, Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Wiseman Meyiwa was forced to retire at 19 because of a spinal cord injury he sustained during a car accident in November.

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