GAS Moves Closer To Establishing Athlete Association
Guild of Action Sports (GAS), the athlete organization launched by Rob Gracie earlier this year, is currently negotiating a group-insurance plan through Lloyds of London that will be offered as an elective benefit to GAS members. This deal will move the Guild closer to its goal of being a resource for the members, as well as organizations seeking legitimate talent in the action-sports fields. “The Guild’s mission is to serve and protect the professional athlete by providing specific personal services and benefits,” says Gracie. “By representing the interests of the athletes, GAS can prevent the excessive exploitation of their talents by various corporate entities.”
Many top athletes have already secured personal representatives who negotiate contracts on their behalf, and Gracie says that GAS is designed to accommodate those relationships while offering guidance and support for those athletes who may not already be represented. “The Guild’s goal is to group professional action-sports athletes together into one powerfully large group, and build an infrastructure to serve and benefit the athlete,” he says. “Specifically, the Guild of Action Sports offers group representation, financial planning, insurance benefits, the marketing of athletes to mainstream media, and a sourcebook of professional referrals for associated services such as accounting, legal consultation, travel bookings, education, medical specialists, and sports agencies.”
Gracie hopes that GAS will be able to give member athletes a degree of stability that they’ve not enjoyed under traditional sponsorship deals. “Certain benefits normally unattainable as an individual are available with GAS membership to help athletes be more financially stable,” he says. “All professional athletes are considered independent contractors and, as such, are not generally entitled to a sponsor’s benefit plan. One of the main reasons for this is the high-risk profile when applied to a company’s group insurance. Another is the short-term contracts typically offered to athletes. With GAS providing a strong benefit package, athletes are in a more secure position to plan their careers.”
The first step in getting GAS off the ground is gathering the various athletes Gracie’s spoken to about GAS and building a membership database. To achieve this, he says he’ll initially rely on the GAS Web site, where information about the organization and online applications will be found. For more information on GAS, check out guildactionsports.com, or e-mail Gracie at: SportsGuild@aol.com.