The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) have announced the creation of a new fund, supported by the Premier League, to assist former players, and their families, who have been impacted by dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions.
An initial amount of £1million will be made available immediately to provide discretionary financial support to former players and their families to help improve their quality of life. The fund will be in place whilst the PFA and Premier League seek to establish a charity involving other football stakeholders as the longer-term vehicle for support.
Former professional footballers who have been members of the PFA and have a diagnosed neurodegenerative disease, will be able to make applications for financial support. These will then be assessed by a newly established, independent panel.
The panel, which includes senior sectoral experts with experience in neurology, nursing and social care, will be led by Steve Jamieson, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. He is also a Trustee of Dementia UK and Chair of Dementia UK Admiral Nurses Clinical Committee.
The PFA’s established Brain Health team will continue to act as a central point of contact for former players and their families to access support and advice, including those seeking guidance on how to apply for financial support through the fund.
However, the establishment of the expert panel will ensure that decisions regarding financial assistance are made independently of the football authorities and against informed and established criteria.
The new fund is designed to provide a transparent and streamlined process through which those seeking help can apply for financial assistance, while also ensuring they receive personal contact and advice on broader support which may also be available to them.
'An important step forward'
Maheta Molango, Chief Executive of the PFA, said: “This is an important step forward in the way football provides practical support to former players who develop dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions.
“It’s an issue where, in all areas, we continue to believe there needs to be a football-wide responsibility. That includes providing access to financial support for former players and the families who most need it.
“The Premier League deserve credit for the proactive way in which they have approached these discussions. Obviously, we hope that other stakeholders in the game will choose to contribute to the Fund going forward.
“There is much that still needs to be done, but this is a positive development which will provide help to former players and their families, and which demonstrates how football has to work together on this issue.”
Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said: “The welfare and care of players has always been a priority for the Premier League, and we feel it is important to offer our support to this newly established brain health fund.
“The fund builds on our long-standing partnership with the PFA and strengthens our collective support for former players facing health challenges.”