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© Alamy - 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles (right)

FSA backs the Football Families For Justice dementia campaign

Earlier this year the Football Families For Justice contacted us to ask if we’d support their campaign to raise awareness of the issue of ex-footballers suffering from dementia.

The FSA’s National Council – our democratically-elected body which can set organisational policy in between AGMs – discussed the issue and has given the campaign our full support.

One of Football Families For Justice’s most high profile-campaigners is John Stiles whose dad Nobby was a World Cup winner with England in 1966. 

In 2016 it was announced that Nobby was suffering from advanced dementia and he passed away in October 2020 at the age of 78. In 2017 his son John told a BBC documentary, presented by Alan Shearer, that he was “utterly convinced” repeatedly heading a football had caused his father’s dementia.

More recently Joe Kinnear’s family condemned the “cruel” lack of support for ex-players with brain injuries. Kinnear was diagnosed with dementia 11 years ago and died in April 2024 at the age of 77.

The campaign has two main goals:

  • To secure help for the ex-professional players who suffer dementia at four times the national average – and the NHS cites football as one of the contact sports which puts competitors at risk. 
  • To ensure that all footballers, whether men, women, professional, amateur, youth or schoolchildren, are properly educated on the risks incurred with heading footballs.

The campaign has already secured support in the last Parliament and they hope to take their work forward with new and re-elected MPs in the next Parliament. 

Football Families For Justice say: “We call on the leaders of the football industry to act with urgency in allocating a small proportion of its massive wealth to address the tragedy of dementia suffered by so many ex-professionals. Football must meet the requirements of these victims with respect and kindness through best in class support, to include care home costs and financial help for their widows.”

ACTION: They would like supporters and supporters’ groups to write to their MPs calling for support – you can download their template letter here and contact your MP here.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball