Should football clubs register with the CQC?
In recent years many of the top English football clubs have been revamping their medical services provision. It appears that increasingly large amounts of money being pumped into English football, combined with ongoing advancements in sports science, nutrition and medicine, mean more top clubs see investing in state of the art medical centres as an important way of gaining an advantage over their rivals. But do these medical centres need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)?
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (HSCA 2008) provides that any person who carries on a ‘regulated activity’ without being registered in respect of carrying on that activity is guilty of an offence. One of the regulated activities specified by the HSCA 2008 includes ‘treatment of disease, disorder or injury’.
The HSCA 2008 states that a person guilty of this offence is liable to either summary conviction or conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding £50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
It is common knowledge that football clubs treat their players’ injuries at both the stadium and training ground. Therefore, on the face of it, football clubs are undertaking a regulated activity and must be registered with the CQC in order to avoid committing an offence.
However, there is an exception in the HSCA 2008 which excludes the following treatment:
‘the provision of treatment in a sports ground or gymnasium (including associated premises) where it is provided for the sole benefit of persons taking part in, or attending, sporting activities and events.’
There is no definition or guidance about the term ‘sports ground’. It seems very likely that a football stadium would be deemed a ‘sports ground’, but what about a club’s training ground and separate medical centre? It’s plausible that a training ground could be considered an ‘associated premises’, but a separate medical centre established to treat employees of the club is less clear-cut.
The make-up of each club’s medical centre will be different but it is certainly worth clubs checking with the CQC whether or not registration is required, rather than risking committing an offence, incurring a heavy fine and any ensuing reputational damage.
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This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.