Football could be FORCED by government to introduce rules on dementia

Football could soon be FORCED to introduce rules to tackle the risk of brain injury by the Government as MP admits he is ‘amazed’ that authorities have not faced a lawsuit over inaction

  • The Government could force football to implement rules to tackle brain injury
  • Chris Bryant MP believes the lack of action from officials was ‘inappropriate’
  • Bryant added the authorities in the game had been ‘negligent’ towards players
  • He called for mandatory brain checks for players throughout their careers 

Football has been warned that it faces Government legislation forcing the sport to tackle the risk of brain injury among players, having been ‘knowingly negligent’ for years.

As Sportsmail launches a seven-point charter for change, Chris Bryant MP, head of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury, said the sport’s ‘shocking’ inaction was made even worse by vast sums of money washing through the game.

He and his committee are yet to persuade football to introduce mandatory brain checks on players throughout their careers.

Chris Bryant MP, who heads a parliamentary group for Acquired Brain injury, has warned that football could soon be forced into implementing legislation to tackle dementia 

The introduction of concussion substitutes, which the MPs are also pushing for, is something the Premier League and FA have indicated they will not consider for at least another nine months.

Speaking at a brain injury summit, Bryant told Sportsmail: ‘The truth is that if football doesn’t get this right soon, we are going to have to do what they’ve done in the USA — which is they have legislated for protocols across all sports, in every single state.

‘I am amazed that they (the football authorities) have not faced a major lawsuit because I think they have been negligent towards their players — and knowingly negligent, because all the evidence is out there for them to look at.’

Bryant claimed authorities had been ‘negligent’ towards players by failing to take any action 

It is 18 years since an inquest established that the former West Bromwich Albion player Jeff Astle died from ‘industrial injury’ caused by heading a ball.

Yet it was only last year that British football authorities, pushed into action by Astle’s family, finally published independent research.

The study suggested that a link did exist. Bryant said: ‘Of course they should have mandatory brain checks for all their players throughout their careers.

‘Of course they should be making sure that you can be substituted in a match (if you sustain a head injury when all substitutes have already been used) and that you have a 10-minute brain injury test when necessary.

‘These are just the basics. Football has done next to nothing and doesn’t want to engage with this topic, as far as I can see.’

It has been 18 years since an inquest established that Jeff Astle (left) died from ‘industrial injury’ caused by heading a ball 

Football’s failure to tackle the risk has led to two legal cases against the game being under preparation, Monday’s Time for Change summit, staged by the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum, also heard.

University of East Anglia neuroscientist Dr Michael Grey, who is currently undertaking research on former players including Mark Bright, formerly of Crystal Palace, and Jeremy Goss, once of Norwich City, said: ‘I think we are likely to see some cases. I am aware of a couple that are ongoing or at least being prepared.’

Bryant told the summit: ‘When you think about the amount of money there is in football you would just think they would want to look after their employees, their footballers — and children, all the way through from grassroots football as well, because there are lots of issues about kids at the age of 11 heading the ball. I think that is completely inappropriate.’ 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: SPORTSMAIL’S CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE DEMENTIA 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Sportsmail launches campaign to tackle football’s dementia scandal amid a growing number of former players affected by brain disease

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘He’s a shell, he can’t get up… he’s just lying in a nappy’: Chris Sutton opens up to Martin Samuel on his former footballer dad’s battle with dementia and how the game is turning a blind eye

JOSEPHINE SUTTON: The specialist said my husband Mike had severe brain damage caused by heading footballs… if he had any realisation of what dementia has reduced him to now, I know he would feel humiliated  

MARTIN SAMUEL: Headaches after just eight games? Thiago Silva’s revelation about ‘non-stop aerial duels’ should have set alarm bells ringing… is it too much to ask to explore this conversation to its logical end? 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Losing the momentum we had would have been unthinkable’: Dr Willie Stewart warns his crucial research into the link between dementia and football cannot go to waste

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘It was fury that drove me at the start’: Tireless campaigner Dawn Astle, daughter of former West Brom forward Jeff, wants brain degeneration in footballers to be declared an industrial disease

RICHARD THOMPSON – SURREY CHAIRMAN: Dementia is Britain’s biggest killer and something must be done… the cost of care, support and helping people must be a priority  




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