Former Newcastle United manager’s family suing FA amid ongoing dementia debate

Joe Kinnear managed Newcastle United before a brief spell as director of football in 2013-14Joe Kinnear managed Newcastle United before a brief spell as director of football in 2013-14
Joe Kinnear managed Newcastle United before a brief spell as director of football in 2013-14 | Getty Images
Former Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear passed away last month following a long battle with dementia

Joe Kinnear’s family are among the 35 claimants pursuing legal action against football authorities due to brain injuries caused by heading.

The ex-Newcastle United manager - who returned for a brief spell as director of football in 2013-14 - died last month aged 77 after a battle with dementia. A report last year found that former players are 3.46 times more likely to develop a neurodegenerative disease than the average person.

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Several of England’s iconic World Cup-winning team in 1966, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton, Nobby Stiles, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson, passed away in recent years following battles with dementia. The issue has become a hot topic for governing bodies about how future generations can be protected.

Law firm Rylands Garth is representing Kinnear’s family and 34 other claimants against the IFAB, the Football Association, the English Football League and the Football Association of Wales. A case management hearing took place at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday - a “milestone” in the ongoing battle.

"Today's hearing is the latest milestone in our campaign to seek justice for those who were not protected by the football governing bodies from sustaining brain damage,” Richard Boardman, of Rylands Garth, said. “The sheer scale of the problem is illustrated by the fact that we have filed more than 8,000 pages of medical records and legal documents for the first 17 football claimants alone."

“The willingness of active footballers to speak out, as demonstrated by Manchester United centre back Raphael Varane just last month, will only help to bring further awareness to this life-changing issue."

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The FA also released a statement and, while refusing to comment on the legal case, confirmed steps are being taken to protect footballers going forward. Their announcement read: "We are not able to comment on ongoing legal proceedings. We continue to take a leading role in reviewing and improving the safety of our game.

"This includes investing in and supporting multiple projects in order to gain a greater understanding of this area through objective, robust and thorough research. We have already taken many proactive steps to review and address potential risk factors which may be associated with football whilst ongoing research continues in this area including liaising with the international governing bodies."

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