The FA are braced for brain injury compensation claims which could lead to pay-outs totalling millions of pounds for thousands of ex-pros
- FA facing a mass claim for compensation due to brain injuries caused by football
- Sportsmail learned dozens of ex-professionals have signed up for legal action
- Case would be the first class action in the UK related to brain injury in football
The FA are facing a mass claim for compensation due to brain injuries caused by football that could lead to pay-outs totalling millions of pounds for thousands of former players.
Sportsmail has learned that dozens of ex-professionals have signed up for legal action brought by personal injury specialists John Foy QC and James Byrne and leading sports lawyer Nick De Marco QC, which they plan to take to the High Court next year. The case would be the first class action in the UK related to brain injury in football.
The group of players are understood to range from some who have recently retired to others in their 60s and 70s, with their careers having taken in all four divisions.
The FA are facing a mass claim for compensation due to brain injuries caused by football
Dawn Astle, daughter of the late Jeff Astle, wants brain degeneration in footballers to be declared an industrial disease
In America, a class action by 4,500 former NFL players which began in 2011 resulted in a US District Court judge awarding a settlement that could eventually reach £750million.
The NFL agreed to pay the initial £60m cost of medical exams for retired players, £7.5m for concussion research and education as well as an uncapped amount in damages for those retirees who could demonstrate they suffered from one of several brain conditions covered by the agreement.
Sportsmail launched a seven-point charter on Tuesday calling for co-ordinated action from the football authorities to tackle dementia.
The death of NFL star Mike Webster led to a row over whether American football could cause long-term brain injury and a £611million settlement to former players
The PFA and FA are funding research but a legal ruling making the FA liable for damages would have significant financial implications for the governing body as well as bring potential aid to dementia sufferers.
The legal team led by Foy, Byrne and De Marco will seek to establish the principle that as the national regulator the FA are liable for dementia-related negligence and personal injury claims as they set the rules for training and matches which have resulted in the former players suffering disproportionately.
Studies have found that those who play the game professionally are 3.5 times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease than the general population.
Di Marco said: ‘The science proving the link between repeated blows to the head and brain injury has been around for many years. A key question the courts will be interested in is whether football, and other contact sport regulators, have taken timely and proper steps to prevent the injuries we are seeing.’
The family of Nobby Stiles have called on the PFA to do more to help suffering former players
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: SPORTSMAIL’S CAMPAIGN TO TACKLE DEMENTIA