Taylor hopes for no Ashton action

PFA chief executive hopes there will not be player-versus-player litigation

Last updated: 11th December 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Taylor hopes for no Ashton action

Taylor: Hopes there will not be player-versus-player litigation

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Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor hopes retired West Ham United striker Dean Ashton does not need to take legal action against Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The 26-year-old has retired after failing to recover from the ankle injury he sustained in a challenge by Wright-Phillips, then a Chelsea player, during an England training session in August 2006.

The injury forced Ashton to miss the entire 2006-07 season but he recovered to make 31 league appearances in 2007-08.

He then made his last appearance for the Hammers in September 2008 after renewed ankle problems.

Players' union boss Taylor hopes financial recompense can be organised via club or national team insurance to avoid player-versus-player litigation.

He told Sky Sports News that it was 'very sad' that Ashton, who had gone through the Crewe academy, had been forced to retire having got to the very top 'and probably not even reached his peak'.

He added: "It shows really what people always realise - there's another side to football and he will be one of the 50 or so players that will have to retire with permanent injuries.


"From that point of view my sympathies are very much with him. It's also complicated of course because the injury occurred whilst on training for England duties and so it's a little bit like with Michael Owen when he was similarly injured, and then there was a dispute between club and country and this is the situation as well with West Ham and England.

"So first of all I hope that we can get all the compensation sorted. I know there's talk of possible legal action against another of our members (Wright-Phillips), that's never a route we are happy to be involved with and hope it doesn't need that."

Asked what the players' union do to help players before their career is over, he replied: "Well first of all every player is insured, the PFA covers every player, we also encourage them to take out injury insurance which a premium is usually about one per cent in total of the cover that they want, so they can get well covered.

"We also encourage them if we are advising on contracts to also make provision for that.

"In this instance England, the FA, will have had to cover him for insurance for the value that the club put on him, so that dispute will have to be sorted properly and then it's the player in discussions with the club as well so there is that.

"And then of course there's the whole of the rest of his life, if he wants to stay in football as a coach or a manager we'd be able to fast-track him and qualify him or to go into the media as many are now as you are aware, we have media training.

"Then there is the possibility of taking any option of courses that he wants to do for the future but he will be feeling at this moment in time, he's tried extremely hard and it's the psychological thing to come to terms with that because he'll be feeling very down."

Miss out

He confirmed that Ashton would be insured but he would still miss out on potential earnings.

"Dean Ashton will be insured for certain, but again it's whether that insurance when you think about his age now and the loss of his potential future earnings as he was getting to the very top of the tree then that's a very large amount in this day and age and I would doubt that the insurance would cover that."

He confirmed that the union could give psychological help to Ashton, adding: "That's the biggest factor really, that a hands-on situation psychologically coping because suddenly you're enjoying life, you're very skilled at what you're doing and you can't get a lot higher than being in the training camp with England, and then suddenly your career is over.

"And it's like a cold shower and having to come to terms with it, it's not easy and that's when we are prepared to give all the help needed.

"But it is a matter of coping psychologically and thinking ahead to the future because no matter what, this day comes when you would get into your 30s if you've had a full career it's just that unfortunately this of course has been curtailed prematurely."

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