The daughter of West Brom star dad Jeff Astle, who died of dementia, has called for a 1% cut of Premier League wages to help fund care for sufferers
Greats from days gone by, when the wages were incomparable to the millions today’s players earn, are being forced to rely on handouts from charities and fans to battle the disease.
Former Baggies ace Jeff Astle’s daughter has claimed the billion pound sport is ignoring heroes who suffer from dementia
Dementia in footballers of the past has been linked to the repeated heading of heavy leather balls in the 60s and 70s.
The daughter of West Brom star dad Jeff Astle, who died of dementia, has called for a 1% cut of Premier League wages to help fund care for sufferers, The Mirror reports.
Dawn, founder of the Jeff Astle foundation said: “The sporting authorities are more interested in helping players with gambling problems, knee injuries, and arthritis.
Liverpool manager Bob Paisley also died following a battle with the illness
Jimmy Hill was another who lost his life to the brain disease
Sir Alf Ramsey, manager of the England football team that won the World Cup was another who suffered from the disease
“They aren’t killing hundreds of former players. Dementia is and the authorities are ignoring it.
“Our dream was to have a series of care homes to provide respite or long-term care.
“A 1% levy on the wages of Premier League players would raise millions to do that.
“Surely today’s players, who have so much money, wouldn’t begrudge that so those who laid the foundations for everything they have can be looked after.”
An FA spokesman said schemes to support former players were normally provided by the PFA.
PFA deputy chief executive John Bramhall said: “There have been cases where we have helped with respite care and amendments to their homes. We can’t pay for full time residential care, it’s not within our gift to do that.
“We have a benevolent and accident fund of £800,000 to provide assistance to former members who are suffering as a consequence of injuries or issues that come from their playing career.”
In April this year The Sun revealed that at least three England World Cup winners couldn’t remember the famous 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley in 1966.
Midfielders Nobby Stiles, 74, and Martin Peters, 73, and left-back Ray Wilson, 82, have all been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
They struggle to recall playing, let alone winning the trophy.
The prevalence of the disease amongst former footie players has been linked to repeated heading of the heavy leather ball used in the 60s and 70s
Goalie Gordon Banks, 79, said: “I still remember the roar of the crowd as we walked through the tunnel on to the pitch.
“And I can clearly recall the feeling of elation at the end, with Nobby dancing while holding the trophy. It is tragic that Nobby, Martin and Ray can’t recall these wonderful memories.”
Ray was the first to be diagnosed, in 2004, followed by Nobby in 2012 and Martin in 2013.
Geoff Hurst scores the equalising goal against West Germany in the final
Bobby Moore stands strong at the centre of the England defence
World Cup Winning team featuring Alzheimer’s sufferers Nobby Stiles, 74, and Martin Peters, 73, and Ray Wilson, 82
Famous celebrations after the victory which featured Nobby Stiles dancing with the trophy
Captain Bobby Moore holds the trophy triumphant with teammates
Alzheimer’s sufferer Martin Peters watches Gordon Banks hold the Jules Rimet trophy
It is seeing the demise of their former team-mates that has prompted Gordon and Geoff Hurst to front the Alzheimer’s Society’s United Against Dementia campaign, which launches today urging people to donate £3 a month to help find a cure.
A TV ad saw the two England legends revisit Wembley and reminisce about old times.
They have a four-decade-old joke they hate each other — after former Stoke City keeper Gordon prevented Geoff from scoring a penalty that would have taken West Ham to the 1972 League Cup final.
The Potters went on to lift the trophy.
Knowing some of the 1966 lads cannot have the same type of memories breaks their hearts.
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