England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst calls for ban on children heading footballs

18 November 2020, 14:21

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst told LBC about his support for a ban on children heading footballs.

Sir Geoff expressing his support for the move comes in the wake of dementia diagnoses and deaths among his 1966 World Cup-winning teammates.

Jack Charlton, Ray Wilson, Martin Peters and Nobby Stiles have all died over the last two and a half years after living with dementia. Sir Bobby Charlton also currently has the disease.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari about his playing days, Sir Geoff said: "We had a ball hanging from the ceiling where we would practice for 30 [or] 45 minutes and then we'd play head tennis.

"And then we'd go on the pitch and practice many times at the near post crosses we had the expertise with..."

However, he then said: "I could probably view games of my playing days when during some of those games I would hardly head a ball at all."

He continued: "So we've got to look maybe at the practice, the amount of practice [where] players are heading a ball which can be intense.

"And secondly [we've got to look at] the amount of youngsters, 10 year-olds, whose brains are not particularly as mature of course as adults, to stop them heading a ball at that level."

The FA has said it holds a "clear and unwavering commitment" to battling dementia, following Nobby Stiles' family calling for more to be done to "address the scandal" of the illness in football.

Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate has called for research on the issue to continue.