PFA set up dementia taskforce following Sportsmail campaign

Victory for Sportsmail on Day One of our campaign! PFA set up dementia taskforce with Chris Sutton and Dawn Astle playing key role as former striker demands that results are delivered

  • PFA are to set up a taskforce to examine their response to dementia in football 
  • It comes less than a day after Sportsmail launched campaign demanding action
  • Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton has been approached to become part of the group
  • Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff, will also play a role after backing Sportsmail’s call

The Professional Footballers’ Association are to set up a taskforce to examine their response to dementia in football — less than 24 hours after Sportsmail launched a campaign demanding immediate action.

In a move which has been met with cautious optimism, the players’ union responded to this newspaper’s publishing of a seven-point charter.

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton, who has spearheaded our campaign, has been approached to become part of a working group, along with Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff, who also backed our call.

The PFA are to set up a taskforce to examine their response to dementia in football — less than 24 hours after Sportsmail launched a campaign demanding immediate action

The development represents a second victory in rapid succession for our drive. 

We called for the PFA to pledge £250,000 to allow a vital research programme to continue for the next two years. They say they will fund Dr Willie Stewart’s FIELD study, though he is understood not to have yet received formal confirmation.

Former Celtic, Blackburn and Norwich striker Sutton has long called for action. His father, former footballer Mike, is dying of dementia.

Chris Sutton (left) has opened up to Sportsmail about his father Mike (right)’s dementia – former striker has been approached to become part of a working group

‘Of course I would be happy to join the taskforce,’ he said. ‘But this cannot be something that pays lip service. This has to deliver results. We cannot waste more time. We have outlined what we want in our campaign and each point needs to be delivered — no ifs, no buts. We want results.’

Astle, whose father’s death in 2002 aged 59 was ruled by a coroner to have been as a result of heading footballs, will also consider the approach from the working group being set up under the PFA’s charity arm. Both would like to see further information but are keen to make swift progress.

The family of England World Cup winning legend Nobby Stiles, who suffered from dementia and died last month aged 78, pledged support, along with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who called for more research.

 Dawn Astle, daughter of Jeff, has also been approached after backing Sportsmail’s call


The plight of Burnley’s 1960 heroes proves dementia IS a football disease… Jimmy Robson is one of seven title-winning stars to be affected by the illness as he recalls flicking on headers because ‘it needed to be done’

‘I dread to think of how many footballs I headed’: Former York defender Daniel Parslow admits fears of ‘damage’ during his career’ after a concussion forced him to retire last year as he insists temporary substitutes are an ‘absolute MUST’

Sunderland legend Dave Watson has been inundated with letters from fans amid his battle with dementia… the flood of support shows he is the REMEMBERED England captain

‘I hope dad’s death is catalyst to address this scandal’: Damning verdict on PFA from Nobby Stiles’ son after his father passed away from dementia

Battle to get brain injury among footballers recognised as an industrial disease – which would mean affected players being able to claim state disability benefits – is realistic, says expert

Pittsburgh Steelers icon Mike Webster’s death at just 50 years old culminated in a historic concussion settlement worth £611million after more than 4,500 former players came forward… could it pave the way for cases in football?

The FA are braced for brain injury compensation claims which could lead to pay-outs totalling millions of pounds for thousands of ex-pros 

England boss Gareth Southgate backs Sportsmail’s calls for greater research into links between football and dementia as he reveals he played on with concussion ‘several times’ 

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