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Apology from football chiefs to Astle widow

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

  • Laraine Astle

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THE Football Association (FA) has apologised to the widow of a Midlands footballing giant who died from injuries sustained during his playing career

Laraine Astle, the wife of former West Bromwich Albion and England striker Jeff Astle, from Netherseal, had appealed to the Football Association to conduct more research and take more action to prevent modern-day stars suffering the same fate as her husband.

The FA promised a 10-year study into the effects of heading footballs, but nothing has been published.

After concerns were raised, football chiefs have now apologised to Mr Astle’s widow, Laraine, about its failure to keep her informed about its work.

An FA spokesman said: “We deeply regret any upset caused to the Astle family due to our lack of contact during this period.”

It said it would speak to the Astle family about its work as soon as possible.

The death of the former Baggies hitman in 2002, at the age of 59, was found to have been caused by repeatedly heading heavy leather balls during the 1960s and 70s, with a coroner ruling it was the cause of serious brain damage.

Mrs Astle said: “In my opinion, we have had no closure because the FA won’t accept what killed Jeff.

“One of my daughters said, ‘do they just not think my dad’s life was worth anything?’”

Mrs Astle said she wanted the FA to continue its study, which she believed would be ‘worthwhile’.

She added: “Jeff couldn’t remember his daughter, he kept forgetting her name, he couldn’t remember that he had played football. It was heartbreaking.

“It’s like giving a child a cigarette and telling them to smoke it. This is the brain. Once you get trouble it’s a slippery slope.”

Mr Astle played 292 games for West Bromwich Albion between 1964 and 1974, scoring 137 goals. He also played five times for England.

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