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Ex-England star’s daughter calls for Premiership wage levy to fund dementia care

Just 1% of the earnings could go a long way towards setting up care homes for those with the disease, said Jeff Astle’s daughter.

A small percentage of the wages of Premier League footballers should go towards funding dementia care for ex-players, the daughter of a former England star has said.

Just 1% of the multimillion-pound earnings could go a long way towards setting up care homes for those suffering with the disease, Jeff Astle’s daughter Dawn said.

The England striker, who also played for West Brom, died of a degenerative brain condition in 2002, aged 59, with a coroner describing his illness as an “industrial disease”, following years of headers on the pitch.

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Jeff Astle died of a degenerative brain condition in 2002 (Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport)

Ms Astle, whose family set up a foundation in her father’s name in 2015, told the Mirror dementia was affecting hundreds of former players.

She said: “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.”

Earlier this year new research suggested footballers who repeatedly head the ball can end up suffering from dementia, prompting calls for more investigation into a long-suspected issue in the sport.

Authors of the small study said the results provided a platform for a “pressing research question” on whether dementia is more common in footballers than the general population. Following the publication of the findings the Football Association said it was committed to supporting further work in the area and had agreed, alongside the Professional Footballers’ Association to jointly fund more research.

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