Women's Super League: Players to avoid having to cover their own injury costs this season

Arsenal Women are the reigning Women's Super League champions
Arsenal are the reigning Women's Super League champions

Women's Super League footballers will no longer have to worry about covering their own injury costs this season after changes to regulations.

Some players had to provide their own private medical insurance despite the league turning professional last term.

The change, allowing players access to club injury funds, was welcomed by the Professional Footballers' Association.

But it wants the Football Association to make medical insurance "a contractual obligation" for clubs.

The PFA also criticised a remaining clause in the WSL standard players' contract, where they can be sacked if they are injured for three continuous months.

It is understood that no club has yet activated that clause, but the FA said its medical policies were "under regular review".

A PFA spokesperson told BBC Sport: "While we welcome the extra regulations that the FA has implemented with regards to clubs providing adequate medical funds to cover players' injuries, we expect all medical and rehabilitation costs to be a contractual obligation of the club, as it is in the men's Premier League or an EFL standard contract.

"The unilateral option of a club being able to terminate a player's contract if a player is injured for a continuous three-month period, we don't feel is acceptable in a physical contact sport in which the risk of injury is so high."

The FA said of the changes to its medical cover: "Extra regulations have been included from the start of the 2019-20 season to ensure that every WSL club must have medical funds in place to cover injuries to their players."

Regarding the remaining termination clause, it added: "The Women's Football Contract was developed in consultation between the FA, clubs and the PFA to shape a player contract that the women's football pyramid could financially sustain and one that reflects the recently emerging status of women's professional football in England.

"It differs from men's professional football, which is more established and better suited to accommodate the additional financial liability of long-term injuries to players.

"Any new changes to the Women's Football Contract will be made in collaboration between the FA, clubs and the PFA."

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.