What Is A Professional?

DOGTAG DEFINITION OF A PROFESSIONAL

DOGTAG 100% Proof Travel Insurance cannot cover professional sports of any kind.

Eh? What does that mean? Well back in the bad old days, a "professional" was somebody who received money, any money whatsoever, either in the form of payment or prize money for entering a sporting competition. In order to preserve your amataeur status and be able to enter say, the Olympics or a Rugby Union tournament, you had to be careful never to receive a penny for playing your sport.

However, in the modern world, with the Olympics and Rugby Union and dozens of other sports allowing 'professional' and 'amateur' competitors to compete alongside each other then we need to take a look at what we at Dogtag call a 'Professional'.

First of all, let's look at the dictionary definitions:

  • Dictionary Definition of Professional:
    •   A person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, as his or her main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.
  • Dictionary Definition of an Amateur:
    •   A person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis.

All very well but these definitions don't deal with the grey areas between the two so here's our definition of a professional:

Dogtag Definition of Professional:

In the context of engaging in sporting activities, we define a professional as a person who engages in a sport as their main occupation regardless of earnings rather than as an amateur who engages in their sport solely for pleasure.

Main Occupation?

By main occupation we mean spending the majority of one's time training in order to compete and competing in competitive sport. If this is the case then you are a professional and we cannot cover you.

I don't earn any money so I'm not a professional

We are not necessarily concerned about how much money, if any, that you make from our sport. Many sportsmen and women on the way up the competitive hierarchy do not earn any money and are supported by relatives or small amounts of sponsorship income. The fact that you spend most of your time involved in training and competing in sport means that to all intents and purposes you're a professional and we can't cover you.

I have a full time job outside of my sport but train as much as I can in my spare time.

If this is the case then we would define you as a keen amateur and you're good to go, we can cover you.

Competitions with Prize Money

What if I'm an amateur by the above definition but enter a competition where there's prize money?

If you're a keen amateur by the above definition and enter a competition where prize money is at stake and you're lucky enough to get on the podium then that's ok with us. A few quid in prize money now and again is less relevant than whether you compete and train as a full time professional.

However, if you become more frequently successful and begin to transition up the hierarchy of the sport, and this is especially important for somebody with an ambition eventually to become a professional, you need to be careful to sport at which point you cross the boundary into professionalism.

Competing Against Professionals

We know that amateurs enter competitions and compete against professional. This is quite common in the likes of cycling competitions or where an amateur football side might compete against a professional side. The fact that you have a full time job elsewhere and are not training and competing full time, dependent upon the same podium places for your livelihood means that you are still an amateur.

However, as mentioned above, if you become more frequently successful and begin to transition up the hierarchy of the sport, and this is especially important for somebody with an ambition eventually to become a professional, you need to be careful to spot at which point you cross the boundary into professionalism.

Sport Aid

My Child is Training with a Youth Development Squad.

If your child is in full time education but receives some sponsorship from Sports Aid or a youth development program run under the auspices of a national body associated with Sport England or Sport Scotland for training camps etc then we would not consider this to be effective professionalism. The child is not a full time athlete.

However, if your child leaves school to become a resident at a sporting youth development location where they will also go to school then we would not consider your child to be a true amateur. Think about Andy Murray; when he was full time at a Spanish tennis school, was he really an amateur? If your child falls into this category then you must contact us to discuss the situation. 

Charitable Fund Raising

I'm an amateur but I do a lot of charitable fundraising and get money from people who sponsor me.

Well, the fact that you probably train very hard to earn this money for a charity and don't get to keep the money hardly makes you a professional. We're ok. with amateurs in full time employment elsewhere entering sporting events to raise money for charity by being sponsored by friends and local companies.

To download a .PDF of this statement click HERE.