Crystal Palace’s Gemma Bryan has publicly attacked the club for a lack of support and having been “left in limbo” after tearing her ACL five months ago.
In a statement posted online, the 32-year-old striker said she had received an initial private scan funded by the club but had since been left languishing on the NHS waiting lists with no contact from the staff of Crystal Palace Women.
“I wish I could say that the club has supported me but unfortunately the opposite is true. I’ve received no medical support from the women’s team; Crystal Palace kindly funded my initial scan. I am greatly appreciative of this as well as the support I received from the players,” said Bryan, who scored over 100 goals in a first stint for Palace and rejoined the club in January after a spell at Charlton.
“After the results of my scan I was informed I would have to self-fund or wait for the NHS for my surgery [still currently waiting]. Since then I’ve had zero communication from the women’s team, despite me proactively emailing and messaging both the management team and club chairman.
“I didn’t even have a meeting to say whether I wasn’t getting a new contract or I was getting one. I’ve been left in limbo.”
A statement from Crystal Palace Women said: “Gemma remained fully paid, beyond the terms of her agreement, until the end of the season when her registration expired. She was also offered ongoing continued access to rehabilitation support beyond the end of last season.”
The club have also disputed the validity of Bryan’s claim that another player, believed to be Ashlee Hincks who suffered an ACL injury last week, has received preferential treatment: “Gemma’s claim that another player with a similar injury has received different levels of treatment and support is factually incorrect.”
The issues raised by Bryan have stirred up longstanding frustrations over player welfare. The FA introduced new rules that require Women’s Super League clubs to provide private medical insurance for players. However, similar rules will not extend down to the Championship, where the problem is felt more acutely, until the 2020-21 season.
An FA spokesperson said: “Medical standards are constantly improving and are under regular review to meet the future requirements of the women’s game.”