PFA urged to ‘address the scandal’ of forgotten footballers left struggling with dementia by son of World Cup winner Nobby Stiles, as he blasts player’s union for allowing former stars to sell medals while sitting on ‘millions of pounds’
The family of England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles have called on football to ‘address the scandal’ of underfunding for dementia sufferers and hit out at the Professional Footballers Association for deserting its members in their hour of need.
Manchester United legend Stiles passed away earlier this month at the age of 78 after a long battle with the disease and with prostate cancer. In 2010, he sold his medals to ensure that his family were looked after.
And in addition to what is a powerful statement his family have backed Sportsmail’s campaign for football to tackle its dementia problem, which was launched today.
The family of Nobby Stiles have called on the PFA to do more to help suffering former players
Stiles died earlier this month at the age of 78 after a battle with dementia and prostate cancer
The statement starts by paying tribute to Stiles and thanking his carers. It reads: ‘We are really proud of dad for what he achieved and more importantly the man that he was. We have been really touched by the love people had for dad and the memories they had of him. He reached the very top of his profession, yet retained his humility.
‘He loved his country and was very proud to have represented England. Of course everybody remembers my dad dancing around Wembley in 1966. The final years of his life were blighted by ill health and we are grateful to the carers who looked after dad.’
It then turns its attention to what more can be done by the authorities including the PFA, which has tens of millions sitting in cash reserves.
‘Dad is from a generation of footballers who played before the creation of the Premier League,’ it adds.
‘There is a need for urgent action. These older players have largely been forgotten and many are in ill health like dad. They need support now and they deserve it. How can it be that these players are left needing help when their own union has tens of millions of pounds available today?
‘The modern player will never need the help required by the older lads. How can it be that these players are left to struggle when the Premier League receives £3bn a year? How can it be right that some of the heroes of 1966 had to sell their medals to provide for the families?
Stiles’ family have thanked those who cared for him but hit out at the PFA’s lack of support
‘These older players are dying like my dad. Many don’t have medals to sell. It is right, of course to seek to identify cause of dementia in older players but in truth the cause is irrelevant to the older players. Whatever the cause they need help now. I hope dad’s death is the catalyst for this scandal to be addressed.’
Stiles’s eldest son John, who played for the likes of Leeds United and Rochdale, voiced the family’s backing for the campaign. ‘We’re delighted that the Sportsmail campaign to help players has been launched and we hope that it produces much-needed, urgent action from the football authorities,’ he said.