Study Finds Footballers 3.5 Times More Likely To Die From Brain Trauma

In this file photo taken on September 19, 2019 Former Rangers teammates French player Gregory Vignal (R) and Belgian player Thomas Bouffel (L) pay their respects among the tributes to former Rangers and Netherlands player Fernando Ricksen, ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group G football match between Rangers and Feyenoord at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland on September 19, 2019. PHOTO: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

A new study carried out by Glasgow University has found former footballers are approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases than the general population.

The report, released on Monday was commissioned by England’s Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association to assess the medical records of 7,676 men who played professional football in Scotland between 1900 and 1976.

Their records were matched against more than 23,000 individuals from the general population, with the study led by consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart of Glasgow University.

His findings report that the “risk ranged from a five-fold increase in Alzheimer’s disease, through an approximately four-fold increase in motor neurone disease, to a two-fold Parkinson’s disease in former professional footballers”.

Although footballers had a higher risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, they were less likely to die of other common diseases, such as heart disease and some cancers, including lung cancer.

The study – titled ‘Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk’ found that deaths in ex-footballers were lower than expected up to age 70 and higher than expected over that age.

Dr Stewart said in a statement: “An important aspect of this work has been the ability to look across a range of health outcomes in former professional footballers. This allows us to build a more complete picture of health in this population.

“Our data show that while former footballers had higher dementia rates, they had lower rates of death due to other major diseases.

“As such, whilst every effort must be made to identify the factors contributing to the increased risk of neurodegenerative disease to allow this risk to be reduced, there are also wider potential health benefits of playing football to be considered.”

Earlier this year, UEFA requested for a change in the game’s laws to reduce the pressure on the medical staff and give doctors more time to assess head injuries off the pitch, so that no concussed player returns to the field of play.

“The whole game must recognise that this is only the start of our understanding and there are many questions that still need to be answered,” said FA chairman Greg Clarke said.

“It is important that the global football family now unites to find the answers and provide a greater understanding of this complex issue. The FA is committed to doing all it can to make that happen.”

Outgoing PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has been strongly criticised for his lack of action on the subject, in particular by the family of former West Bromwich Albion striker Jeff Astle, whose 2002 death from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was linked to repeatedly heading heavy leather footballs.

Taylor said it was now “incumbent on football globally to come together to address this issue in a comprehensive and united manner”.

He added: “Research must continue to answer more specific questions about what needs to be done to identify and reduce risk factors.”

AFP

[UPDATED] Ghana Football Association To Be Dissolved After Corruption Claims – Govt

Ghana Football Association To Be Dissolved After Corruption Claims – Govt
President of The Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi. Carl DE SOUZA / AFP

 

Ghana on Thursday said it would dissolve the country’s football association after claims of bribe-taking by referees and kickbacks to top officials in an undercover documentary.

 

Information minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said the government had “decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA (Ghana Football Association) dissolved” because of the “widespread nature of the apparent rot”.

The GFA had earlier pledged to tackle corruption in the wake of a long-awaited undercover documentary unveiled in Accra on Wednesday night, just over a week before the start of the World Cup finals.

Hidden camera footage purportedly showed referees taking as little as $100 (85 euros) each to rig matches.

It further alleged that GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi — a senior member of world governing body FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) — requested $11 million from reporters posing as investors to secure government contracts.

He also allegedly tried to profit personally from a $5 million-a-year, five-year sponsorship deal with the GFA in what the expose said was a “clear breach” of ethics.

The information minister said the government, which has pledged to cut corruption in the country, was “shocked and outraged” at the claims.

The documentary “exposes gross malfunctioning of the Ghana Football Association characterised by widespread fraud, corruption and bribery”, he said in a statement.

The conduct of all GFA officials and the suspended director-general of the National Sports Authority, Robert Sarfo Mensah, was referred to police for further investigation and any “appropriate action”, he added.

Provisional measures will be put in place to run the sport in Ghana until a new body is formed. CAF and FIFA will be kept informed, he said.

“Government will see to it that the necessary reforms are urgently undertaken to sanitise football administration in the country,” the minister stated.

‘No cover-up’

The GFA said it had not seen the documentary, which has sparked concerns about media freedom in Ghana after the journalist responsible received death threats.

But it said in a statement, “We view the allegations circulating in the media very seriously and would wish to take immediate steps to address them.”

It added: “The GFA wishes to place on record that, there will be no attempt of a cover-up or shield any of our members caught in alleged acts of corruption.

“The GFA wishes to assure all that as an institution it does not condone any manner of corrupt practices.”

The governing body said it had previously acted swiftly against claims of match-fixing.

In 2014, Britain’s Channel 4 television and the Daily Telegraph newspaper claimed Nyantakyi agreed a $170,000-deal for Ghana’s national side to play in a friendly organised by match-fixers.

Nyantakyi denied signing any contract.

‘Wake-up call’

Ghana’s senior men’s team, the Black Stars, have not qualified for the World Cup finals in Russia, which include two teams from West Africa; Nigeria and Senegal.

At the last tournament in Brazil in 2014, Ghana’s previous government chartered a plane to send more than $3 million in cash to players in a row over appearance fees.

That decision caused a scandal back home as the country struggled with spiralling inflation, a yawning budget deficit and depreciating currency.

Diplomats, lawmakers, government ministers and members of the public packed a conference centre in Accra to watch the first screening of the two-hour documentary on Wednesday.

Football fan Simon Gyamfi said afterwards it was a “wake-up call” for the national game, adding: “I hope it will lead to a total clean-up in Ghanaian football.

“There is so much corruption in the system… The entire Ghana FA executive must be scrapped. What we have just seen is a total disgrace to the beautiful game.”

The documentary is the work of secretive investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who has previously exposed graft in the judiciary.

After watching an advance private screening, President Nana Akufo-Addo complained to police that Nyantakyi had “used the president’s name and office fraudulently”.

Nyantakyi was then questioned and released pending further investigation.

A lawmaker from Akufo-Addo’s ruling New Patriotic Party has since accused Anas of being corrupt and insinuated he should be killed and his colleagues beaten up.

AFP

Wenger Banned For Three-Matches, Fined £40,000

Arsene Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and fined by the Football Association over comments he made about the refereeing of Sunday’s Premier League game against West Brom.

In a separate case, the Arsenal boss has also been asked by English football’s governing body to provide his observations on what he said about penalty decisions that went against the Gunners in both of their last two matches over the festive period, against the Baggies and Chelsea.

“Arsene Wenger will serve a touchline ban for Arsenal’s next three matches after he was charged with misconduct,” an FA statement said.

“It follows an independent regulatory commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee. He was also fined £40,000 ($54,000).”

Earlier, Wenger said he was unrepentant over his comments about penalty decisions against the Gunners.

“I maintain what I said in the press conference — 100 percent,” Wenger told reporters on Friday ahead of his side’s FA Cup third-round match at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

“I try to serve this game with honesty and integrity and when I have something to say I will say it.”

AFP

Moyes Charged By FA Over Comments Made To Female Reporter

David Moyes, SouthamptonSunderland Manager, David Moyes, has been charged by the England’s Football Association (FA) over the comments he made to a female reporter in March.

The charge relates to comments Moyes made to Vicki Sparks, a reporter from the BBC, after Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley on March 18.

It is alleged that Moyes’ remarks about slapping the reporter were improper, threatening and brought the game into disrepute, contrary to FA rule E3(1).

Moyes, the former Manchester United manager, has until Wednesday next week to respond to the charge.

Misconduct: Arsene Wenger Gets 4-Match Touchline Ban

Misconduct: Wenger Gets 4-Match Touchline BanArsenal manager Arsene Wenger, has been given a four-match touchline ban and £25,000 fine after accepting an English Football Association charge of misconduct for his behaviour in the win over Burnley.

Wenger was charged with verbally abusing and pushing fourth official Anthony Taylor after being sent off.

It was alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official.

It was further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.

The Arsenal manager admitted the charge and requested a personal hearing which took place before an Independent Regulatory Commission on Friday.

The club has decided it will not be appealing the decision.

The 67-year-old misses Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Southampton and Premier League games against Watford, Chelsea and Hull.

He will be back for the Premier League trip to Liverpool on March 4.

How FA Intends To Bring Ex-footballers Back To The Game

Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, FA, Ex-footballersThe Football Association has begun training of retired footballers aimed at preventing former England internationals from quitting the game.

Former Manchester United midfielder, Paul Scholes is already taking part in a pilot FA programme, while contacts have been made with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard about getting involved in the scheme.

FA Technical Director, Dan Ashworth, said on Monday that “St George’s Park is very much open to ex-England players.

“We are keen to get more English coaches either working with our national teams or back into the Premier League or Football League as coaches and managers.

“I have been in regular contact with several current and ex-England internationals about a pilot programme.”

Individuals are assessed and then the FA puts together a learning programme.

For Scholes, the assessment would determine whether he has the right skills to coach other players how to pass the ball.

This would be based on his playing career which shows he has all the practical ability required to demonstrate the skill.

FA Cup Broadcast Rights: FA Signs New Overseas Deal

FA Cup Broadcast RightsThe Football Association has announced its agreement for a new six-season overseas broadcast rights deal for the FA Cup, starting from the 2018-19 season.

BBC says Pitch International would have coverage rights for Western Europe, Middle East and North Africa while IMG is expected to cover the rest of the world.

Both firms would commission deals to broadcasters while domestic rights would remain with the BBC and BT Sport.

The deal also includes rights for The FA Community Shield and The FA Youth Cup.

The FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, described the deal, which is reportedly worth one billion pounds, as “hugely significant”.

Glenn said it would allow more investment in pitches, facilities and participation programmes.

“It is not overstating it to say that it could have a transformational impact on what we are able to achieve across the country.

“It also underlines the global popularity of The Emirates FA Cup.

“With its history and tradition, it has the remarkable ability to create fantastic stories and inspire fans, players and clubs to believe anything is possible,” said the FA chief.

More Schools Confirmed For Channels National Kids Cup

Kids CupMore schools have confirmed participation for the 2015 Channels National Kids Cup.

The boys from Research Model School will represent Kaduna, while School Road Primary School in Umuahia will compete as representatives of Abia State.

Eyeanugie Primary School defeated Ogodua Primary School 4-0 in the final preliminary match to pick the ticket for Edo State while Focal Point Primary School will represent Kwara State.

Ansarudeen Nursery & Primary School, Lokoja will fly the flag of Kogi State.

Season Seven of the Channels National Kids Cup will kick off on Thursday, May 21 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

Channels Television has been organizing the football tournament since 2009 with the aspiration to make it a model for developing grassroots football in Nigeria.

Supported by the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), the 7th edition of the Channels National Kids Cup will retain the 16-team format, with players from other regions of the federation converging on Lagos to compete.

Ogun Football Association Holds Election In Abeokuta

Tfootballhe incumbent Chairman of the Ogun State Football Association, Mr Ganiyu Majekodunmi, has been unanimously re-elected as the Chairman of the Football Association in Ogun State.

The election held at the conference hall of the Moshood Abiola International Stadium in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Majekodunmi polled 20 votes in a ‘yes or no’ vote in the election where he was the sole chairmanship candidate.

In his acceptance speech, the Ogun State FA Chairman promised to work with all aggrieved members of the association to improve the fortunes of the Football Association in the state.

The election got underway only after the initial hiccups caused by protest by an aggrieved candidate, the Chairman of the Abeokuta South Local Government Football Council, Tunji Fagbenro, who was allegedly disqualified from the race by the Electoral Committee of the association.

The election involved delegates of Football Council from the 20 Local Government Areas of the state, management of clubs and other stakeholders.

The delegates cast their votes one after the other, after which results were announced.

A representative of the NFF Chairman, Yusuf Fresh, commended the peaceful conduct of the election.

He also spoke on the contractual agreement of the Super Eagles National Coach, Stephen Keshi.

The Chairman and two members of the Ogun State Football  Association from the three senatorial districts of the state have been sworn-in to man the affairs of the state’s football for the next four years.

 

Gerrard Retires From International Football

geradEngland and Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, has called time on his international career with the Three Lions after his side’s disappointing 2014 FIFA World Cup performance.

Gerrard retires from international football after winning 114 caps for England, scoring 21 goals since his debut in 2000 under Coach Kevin Keegan.

The Liverpool captain, who represented his country at six major tournaments, says it was a difficult decision to take and he had to consult widely before the decision to stop playing for England.

“It was a very difficult decision to make. It’s something I have been contemplating for a long time, not just since the end of the World Cup,” the Liverpool skipper said.

“I’ve had to take an awful lot of advice from people who are close to me – players that I still play with, ex-players who I played with a long time ago, managers who I played for years ago.

“It’s been a really tough decision, certainly one of the toughest since I turned professional at 18.

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.

“However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.

“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I’ve played under to the staff at The FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside.

“In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results”.

Gerrard will, however, continue to play for his club, Liverpool, with whom he made his debut in 1998 against Blackburn Rovers.

”Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field.

“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club, I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”

Gerrard will now assume a “high profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.

 

Mandela: Renowned Personalities Pay Tribute To A Sport Ambassador

 Sport Personalities all over the world are paying tributes to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, who has died at age 95.

Mandela believed sport has the power to change the world. According to him, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people; in a way that nothing else does”. After he was elected president in 1994, Madiba, as he is popularly called in his country, used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite South Africa that was almost torn apart by racial violence. His message was, “One team, one nation!”

Boxing legend, Muhammad Ali said “His was a life filled with purpose and hope – hope for himself, his country and the world. Ali concluded by saying, “He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale”.

According to Brazilian football icon, Pele, Mandela was “one of the most influential people in my life. He was my hero, my friend”.

Tiger Woods,  the world’s number one golfer and a 14-time major winner, said “You will always be in my heart, Mr Mandela.”

President of football governing body, FIFA, Sepp Blatter, wrote, “It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person. He was probably one of the greatest humanists of our time.”

Blatter spoke of Mandela’s impact on football’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa: “When he was honoured and cheered by the crowd at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010, it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts.

“It was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced. For him, the World Cup in South Africa truly was ‘a dream come true’.”

He added that there would be a minute’s silence as a mark of respect ahead of the next round of international matches.

England’s record goal scorer, Sir Bobby Charlton said “Mr Mandela worked tirelessly all of his life for racial equality and his legacy will live on way beyond our lifetime. I feel blessed to have lived during his life span and privileged to have met him on a number of occasions.”

Former England Captain, David Beckham’s words were, “My heart goes out to the people in South Africa and Mr Mandela’s family. We have lost a true gentleman and a courageous human being. It was truly an honour to have known a man who had genuine love for so many people. Rest in peace.”

Six-time Olympic champion, Usain Bolt also showed respect for the global icon, “One of the greatest human beings ever. May your soul rest in peace. The world’s greatest fighter…”

In Adelaide, a couple of hours after the news of Mandela’s death was announced, a minute’s silence was observed before the start of play on day 2 of the Second Ashes Test, between Australia and England. The players wore black armbands in tribute to Mandela.

The English Premier League has confirmed that a minute’s silence would be observed before the start of all matches taking place this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Football Association and Football League have also asked clubs taking part in their respective competitions to have a minute’s applause before their matches this weekend.

Ferguson Fined £12,000 For Misconduct

Manchester United manager; Sir Alex Ferguson has been fined for his comment after he was pronounced guilty of misconduct during the Red Devils clash with Tottenham Hotspurs.

The coach was furious after assistant referee Simon Beck couldn’t spot what Ferguson had claimed would have brought a chance of a penalty the way of Manchester United in game that ended 1-1, Ferguson was fined £12,000 for his comment after the match against Beck saying “There was no way we were going to get a decision from him.”

Though he appealed the charge by FA but could only escape with a touchline ban the fine was not struck off by the FA.

The FA released a statement to the effect of his being fined for accusing an umpire of the FA of bias.

“Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today, Sir Alex Ferguson has been fined £12,000 in relation to media comments made after Manchester United’s game at Tottenham Hotspur on 20 January 2013,” said an FA statement.

“It was alleged that the Manchester United manager’s post-match media comments implied that the match official was motivated by bias.

“Ferguson had denied the misconduct charge and requested a paper hearing at which the Independent Regulatory Commission found proven the breach of FA Rule E3.”