Blackburn Rovers today lost a High Court claim against insurers who refused to pay the club £4million over a back injury which ended the professional career of striker Martin Dahlin.
A judge upheld the insurers' argument that Dahlin was not covered by the club's policy because he was suffering from a pre-existing degenerative disc condition unrelated to the training ground injury which put the Swedish international permanently out of action more than eight years ago.
Mrs Justice Dobbs said Dahlin's injury resulted from 'a clearly awkward' fall.
But she added: 'I do not consider the evidence of the fall puts it into a category of something so very different from what one sees regularly on the football pitch.'
Medical evidence from spinal experts was 'overwhelmingly one way' - that the cause of the injury was degenerative disc disease.
The judge's ruling came in a case involving an insurance policy which is standard throughout the sport.
Insurers Avon, Eagle Star, AGF and IC Insurance pointed to a clause which excludes disablement attributable, directly or indirectly, to arthritic or other degenerative conditions in joints, bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments.
Blackburn, who paid an annual premium of more than £13,000 to insure Dahlin, had argued that his pre-existing back problem was no more than ordinary wear and tear and that the sole cause of the pain which stopped him playing professional football was the prolapsed disc he suffered in the incident during training.