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Ex players and their families to sue the football authorities

A group of 30 former footballers and their families are suing football's governing bodies, claiming they failed to protect them from brain injuries.

The Football Associations of England and Wales and the International Football Association Board (Ifab) are accused of "failing to take reasonable action" to reduce blows to the head.

The group includes the family of 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles.

Stiles, who died in 2020, had prostate cancer and advanced dementia.

His brain was diagnosed as having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - a form of degenerative disease dementia which is believed to be caused by repeated blows.

John Stiles, Nobby's son, said the issue of dementia in football was an "ongoing scandal".

"These proposed legal proceedings are a part of this overall campaign for justice for the victims, like Dad, and for fundamental change in an industry that continues to cause the death and illness of thousands of players [professional and amateur, men and women] every year," he said.

The claim alleges the football authorities have been negligent in a number of areas, including failing to reduce heading in training and during matches, failure to allow an independent doctor to assess players who suffer suspected concussion and allowing players to return to training or matches when it is unsafe to do so.

Lawyer Richard Boardman said: "The players we represent love the game. We aim to challenge the current perceptions of the sports governing bodies, to reach a point where they accept the connection between repetitive blows to the head and permanent neurological injury and to take steps to protect players and support those who are injured.

"The proposed claims in football aren't just about financial compensation; it is also about making the game safer and ensuring current and former players get tested so that if they are suffering a brain injury, they can get the clinical help they need."

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