Ironman Group Threatens Legal Action vs Triathlon Ireland

Ironman Group Threatens Legal Actions Against Triathlon Ireland

After the tragic deaths of two athletes during the swim leg of Ironman Ireland, the national governing body, Triathlon Ireland, announced that it had withdrawn their sanctioning (permit) for the race. This gave the impression to me that Ironman Ireland (Ironman Group), was responsible for organising a race that was potentially dangerously negligent.

Since then, the Ironman Group has responded on two occasions. While it doesn’t deny that the sanctioning for the event was removed, it states it was only informed after the swim segment of the race had concluded, presumably after the unfortunate deaths of the competitors.

Triathlon Ireland Confirm Insurance WAS Valid for Ironman Ireland

Triathlon Ireland has yet to address this particular point other than to say that the race day insurance it organised and sold remained valid during the race. It might be waiting for the funerals to be conducted and/or for any ongoing investigations to wrap up.

In its second statement, the Ironman Group threatened Triathlon Ireland with legal action, pointing out that it wasn’t informed ‘before the start of the race’.

Take Out

This is turning into a somewhat unedifying mess for the Ironman Group. The Group has to balance public sensitivities with damage to its reputation. More than that, there is the further threat of legal action against it by competitors and their families.

Triathlon Ireland faces an existential crisis. Any defamation suit being found against it would certainly bankrupt the organisation. Indeed I would guess, in the absence of insurance, that it has financial means of any note. ie Ironman Group’s threat to sue is not about getting money from Triathlon Ireland but rather about its own reputational management. For example, if the Ironman Group is found to be liable it faces the risk of notable damages from families of the victims as well as lower revenues from lower attendances at future races.



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8 thoughts on “Ironman Group Threatens Legal Action vs Triathlon Ireland

  1. I’m surprised you’re surprised. This is not a nice move, but totally expected, I think. Classic corporate response, and that tells that there’s quite a bit of chaos/panic running around.

  2. I’m not surprised.
    It’s all about money with the larger events and the condolences and thoughts seem hollow.

    I suppose we (athletes)mostly genuinely do seriously care about what has happened. Now that we have seen that at least one of the guys who died was probably more experienced Ironman than 95% of us, we perhaps start to dwell on our own mortality and that we could be taking on risks we haven’t signed up to by our normal participation in this sport when events go ahead that, perhaps, shouldn’t go ahead.

  3. Your quote:

    “The personal accident medical policy in force for your members (full members and one day members) was operative during the event last weekend, subject to all the usual terms and conditions of the policy. [D Coombes, CEO, Triathlon Ireland]”

    does not say that the insurance remained valid during the race. It says it was operative, subjected to the usual terms and conditions. Those terms and conditions do exclude an unsanctioned race.

    Something does not match. Either your understanding of the statement of Triathlon Ireland, or Triathlon Ireland is trying to have it, magically, both ways. Or I have missed something 🙂

    1. well, it’s a quote from Triathlon Ireland, as is.

      you say: ” Those terms and conditions do exclude an unsanctioned race.” fair enough.

      but by the same token they probably do not say that it must be sanctioned. i guess someone should read the policy before making a claim

      its quoted as for a personal accident. putting to one side those who died, what conditions are you envisaging someone would make a claim? there would have to be an accident.

      1. I quickly read the TI insurance policy at:

        * A sanctioned event is defined by being listed in their Race Calendar. There is no word about reserving a right to withdraw their sanctioning that would have an effect on the insurance.
        * The insurance is valid only on sanctioned events and not valid on non-sanctioned ones.
        * Yes, there would have to be a claim. The policy explicitly mentions only accidental injuries but does not exclude other bases for a claim.

      2. hmm
        “TI Insurance does not cover you whilst competing in a non-sanctioned event. All TI Sanctioned events are listed on our Race Calendar. If an event is not listed here, it is not a TI Sanctioned event, therefore you are not covered by our insurance at this race.” – that’s pretty clear and damming then!!!!!!!

        also ” The TI Policy is only third party and personal accident insurance”

        policy and accidental injuries…this then comes back to the fact that the person responsible cannot exclude liability due to negligence. that is then a separate claim i suppose from the insurance one?

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