Insurance concerns threaten footy fun

ANDREW Palmer has walked away from his weekly touch footy game because he fears it could cost him his home. Public liability insurance concerns have claimed another community event.

The threat of being sued for any accidents to the players on or off the field, or even on their way to or from the game, has seen Andrew withdraw as the co-ordinator of the popular weekly gathering he started.

Three years ago the Orara Valley resident put up a local notice inviting people to come down to the cricket oval at Nana Glen for a weekly Monday evening social game of touch football.

"It was just a bit of fun and fitness and we marked out the field and ‘reffed’ ourselves," Andrew said.

No rules, no shirts, no cost – just a ball, a few witches hats, a mowed paddock and the chance to get some exercise. People came when and if they felt like it.

At first a few people turned up, then a few more.

The bigger kids came along, the little kids joined in, new mums arrived pushing prams and others came along just to watch, have a yarn and meet other locals.

This year the games have been averaging more than 60 players, half of them young people.

The Nana Glen cricket field is managed by Coffs Harbour City Council, but because the touch footy games are regular and ‘organised’, they do not come under the council’s casual hirers’ insurance.

Andrew said council staff were helpful and had suggested that he get in touch with the Coffs Harbour Touch Football Association.

A council spokeswoman said council itself was not an insurer and its policies were subject to conditions and exclusions, with one of the policy conditions being the hirer was restricted to 12 single day uses in a 12-month period and policy exclusion was injuries arising from sports activities.

"This (affiliation) was obviously not the path that I had in mind and not sure if I personally want to go down it," Andrew said.

"It means registration fees and age restrictions on players, among other things.

But the public-spirited Nana Glen resident, who is currently busy collecting donations for the ‘mo’ he has grown for the Movember prostate cancer fundraiser, said he was still thinking about it.

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