The following sets out Football NSW’s position in respect of the matter involving Angus Chance which has received media attention over the past few weeks.
First of all, the Board and management of Football NSW re-affirm their position that all forms of racism and violence have no place in our game or community and we will continue to treat such acts with the utmost seriousness.
On 29 May 2018, 20 year old Dulwich Hill FC player, Mr Angus Chance, was assaulted by his teammate, Mr Nathan Bowden-Haase, during a training match at Arlington Oval, in Dulwich Hill. Mr Bowden-Haase was later convicted of assault and sentenced to two years’ home detention.
The assault occurred after Mr Chance allegedly reprimanded Mr Bowden-Haase for allegedly making a racist comment in respect of some players trialing with Dulwich Hill FC at the time.
Once it became aware of the incident, Football NSW staff provided support and information to the Chance family including in relation to counselling services, making a claim under Football NSW’s various insurance policies and about its disciplinary processes. Some of this information was provided to the Chance family verbally and some in writing. More than a week after the assault, Mr Chance’s father, Mr Chris Chance, acknowledged and thanked Football NSW staff in writing for their assistance.
Nonetheless, to this day Mr Chance has not lodged a claim against Football NSW’s personal accident insurance policy. Football NSW’s personal accident insurer at the time of the assault remains willing to accept any claim under that policy from Mr Chance (subject to Mr Chance providing all relevant documentation and subject to the terms of the policy).
On 2 October 2018, Mr Chance commenced civil proceedings against Mr Bowden-Haase only. Over a year later, on 4 October 2019, Mr Chance also commenced civil proceedings against his former coach, his former club and Football NSW.
As is standard practice, the civil matter was referred to the insurers of the coach, the club and Football NSW. The insurer then retained lawyers to advise them in respect of the proceedings instituted by Mr Chance.
As soon as Football NSW was advised of the assault, it moved quickly to suspend Mr Bowden-Haase from all football-related activity and he has not played since. Football NSW’s disciplinary action against Mr Bowden-Haase was initially delayed at the request of NSW Police until the criminal proceedings were finalised, so as to maintain the integrity of any evidence obtained by NSW Police and to achieve the best outcome for Mr Chance.
Finally, Football NSW wishes to note that it has personal accident insurance in place for its participants. Broadly speaking, this policy covers participants who suffer injury, including serious injury, while participating in Football NSW sanctioned matches, training etc.
As with any insurance policy, though, there are limits on what is covered and the level of that cover. For instance, Commonwealth legislation prevents insurance programs of this type from covering expenses for which there is a full or partial Medicare rebate.
In general terms, where a player is injured or assaulted in a Football NSW-sanctioned match or training session, Football NSW’s personal accident policy will be available to the player, subject to the policy terms. The items covered and the level of cover under Football NSW’s personal accident policy are consistent with those held by the other State Football Federations across Australia and are comparable with personal accident policies held by other major sports in NSW. In addition to personal accident insurance, Football NSW also has in place separate sporting injuries capital and permanent disability insurance cover through iCare NSW for participants in its competitions.
As the matter is presently before the courts, we will not be making any further comment in relation to it.