Insurer Axa and wholesale intermediary Endsleigh Sports are considering expanding their football insurance schemes if the Football Association (FA) insists on personal injury (PI) cover for non-league players.

FA chiefs have been under pressure from sports minister Kate Hoey to introduce compulsory PI cover.

She said: “There will now be a mandatory scheme. I am very happy with the FA's response and I will continue to monitor the situation.”

The association is currently examining a feasibility study for player insurance, which it plans to introduce for the 2001 season.

The scheme would cover 1.5 million amateur English footballers who belong to 43,000 non-league clubs.

Malcolm Alexander, sports account executive for Endsleigh Sports, said there was an urgent need for football injury cover: “If a professional footballer breaks his leg, he is treated like a god. But if a lorry driver playing a Sunday league game suffers a break, he can lose his job, home and family.”

The broker has set up personal injury schemes in two of the national FA's 47 counties: Kent and Middlesex. It also provides public liability schemes to another eight county FAs.

These are underwritten by Ace Insurance and have provided valuable information on claims experience.

Steven Wilcox, personal lines manager for Axa, said the insurer has 20 years' experience providing football PI cover and would be interested in increasing its share of the market.

An FA spokesman said it would bear the full cost of any compulsory scheme.

The cost of PI cover is estimated at £300 per non-league club per season. If multiplied by the 43,000 FA-affiliated members, this creates an annual market of approximately £13m.