Nobby Stiles’ family among group taking legal action over brain injury claims

Nov 11 (Reuters) – The family of England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles is among a group launching legal action against football’s rules-making body (IFAB) as well as the English and Welsh FAs for negligence over claims they failed to protect players against permanent brain injury. .

The legal action is being led by London law firm Rylands, which said it represented more than 30 footballers with “brain damage”.

They also represent a group of more than 300 former rugby union and league players who are suing authorities for negligence.

“The proposed plaintiffs allege that these defendants were negligent in failing to take reasonable steps to protect players from permanent injury caused by repetitive concussions and sub-concussive blows,” Rylands said in a statement Friday.

“Many players are now suffering from, or have died from, various irreversible neurological disabilities, including early onset dementia, CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and post-concussion syndrome.”

The FA, FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. The Football Association of Wales declined to comment.

Rylands’ statement also alleges specific areas in which the governing bodies were negligent, including a failure to reduce deliberate heading in matches and training, monitor the amount of head contact and implement appropriate player screening requirements.

Rylands lawyer Richard Boardman said the claim was not just about financial compensation, adding that “it is also about making the game safer and ensuring that current and former players are tested…”

The family of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning midfielder Stiles, who died in October 2020 aged 78 and was diagnosed with dementia, is one of the estates involved.

“These proposed legal actions are part of this overall campaign for justice for the victims, like Pa, 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,” Stiles’ son John said.

IFAB gave the go-ahead for trials of permanent concussion substitutes in 2020, after which the Premier League and the Women’s Super League introduced the system in England last year.

Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis

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