The family of England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles said on Friday they were among a group of families planning to sue the Football Association over its failure to protect players from brain damage.
Lawyers representing the Stiles family have accused several football authorities, including England’s governing federation, of taking insufficient steps to reduce the header of the ball in training and during matches.
They also claim that on-field assessments of players with concussion symptoms are “not fit for purpose”.
Stiles died in October 2020 at the age of 78 after suffering from dementia.
He was found to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive brain condition caused by repeated blows to the head.
His son, John Stiles, said on Friday: “Since dad died, I have been involved in a campaign to address the ongoing football dementia scandal in all its different aspects.
“This potential lawsuit is part of this global campaign for justice for victims, like Dad, and for fundamental change in an industry that continues to cause the death and illness of thousands of gamers (professional and amateur, male and female) every year. “
Three other members of the England squad who beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley – Jack Charlton, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson – were suffering from dementia at the time. of their death.
And another member of the team, football great Bobby Charlton, with whom Stiles also played at Manchester United, was diagnosed with dementia last year.
While boxing safety has long been a concern given the effects of repeated blows to the head, several other sports are now grappling with the potential consequences of brain injury.
Former England rugby union striker Steve Thompson is one of several players in 15-a-side football who have decided to sue a number of governing bodies for negligence.
The 44-year-old, a member of the England squad that won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, has been diagnosed with dementia praecox.
Research published last month by Glasgow consultant neuropathologist Willie Stewart suggested elite gamers may be at significantly higher risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease .