herald

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Derby destruction - huge hike in insurance could kill off league

Valentina Nicosia with members of the Dublin Roller Derby league in Inchicore
Valentina Nicosia with members of the Dublin Roller Derby league in Inchicore

Sky-high insurance costs are threatening to put the skids on the Dublin Roller Derby league.

The league, which will celeb- rate its 10th birthday later this year, trains in the city council-owned community hall in Inchicore on four weeknights and on Sundays.

To use the hall it must have public liability insurance.

However, its new premium has more than trebled from €3,000 to €10,000, threatening the future of the team.

It has been told its sport is being reclassified and is now in the same category as sky-diving.

The cover ran out on Tuesday as the league was unable to pay the new premium.

"I'm really struggling to resolve that premium hike," said spokeswoman Sara Devine.

"I don't see what the difference is between roller derby and rugby or GAA.

"Unlike those, we wear padded protection and helmets. I don't understand what the dangers are."

Sara said that while there is plenty of "hip and side contact" during matches, there is no tripping or punching and the contact is heavily regulated.

Two teams of five players face each other, each with one "jammer" and four "blockers".

To score a point a jammer must get past the opposing team's blockers.

"It's great playing offense and defence at the same time," said Sara. "We say it's like chess mixed with rugby - it's very strategic and a smart game.

"While there are injuries, these are usually when people are learning how to skate.

"You tend to get bruises and scratches. It's the same as any other sport."

Sponsors

Dublin Roller Derby league has 90 members, some of whom featured in an Eir ad last year, and each pays €45 a month.

They entered the world rankings two years ago at 138 and are currently "sitting outside the world top 30".

They also raise funds and have sponsors to help meet some costs.

However, Sara said they cannot afford the €10,000 and are being "priced out".

"Other teams across the country are going to be in the same boat," said Sara.

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