World Cup winners, hundreds of rugby players suing rulemakers over negligence

The family of England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles are part of a group launching legal action against the football regulator (IFAB) as well as the English and Welsh FAs for negligence following allegations according to which they failed to protect players from permanent brain damage.

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

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They also represent a group of more than 300 former rugby 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 the players from permanent injury from repetitive and sub-concussive blows,” Rylands said in a statement Friday.

“Many players suffer from or have died from a variety of irreversible neurological impairments, including dementia praecox, 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 alleged specific areas where governing bodies had been negligent, including the failure to deliberately cut the head in matches and practice, to monitor the number of head contacts and to put implement appropriate requirements for player review.

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 midfielder Stiles, winner of the 1966 World Cup, who died aged 78 in October 2020 and suffered from dementia, is among the areas affected.

“These proposed lawsuits are part of this global campaign for justice for victims, like Dad, and for fundamental change in an industry that continues to cause death and illness to thousands of gamers (professional and amateur, male and female). women) every year,” Stiles’ son John said.

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

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