England 1966 heroes' relatives warn of dementia threat posed to footballers by heading the ball

  • ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott meets some of the family members of England's 1966 World Cup winning team as they talk about their shared concern - dementia among footballers

John Stiles and Tom Charlton, the son of Nobby Stiles and brother of Sir Bobby and Jack Charlton, have never met before but they have a lot in common.

The relatives of England's 1966 World Cup winning heroes have both experienced the toll dementia can take on loved ones, and are convinced it can be caused by playing football.

Nobby Stiles died last year, while Jack Charlton - Mr Charlton's older brother and defender in the 1966 team died in 2020.

  • Tom Charlton tells ITV News of the pain he felt watching his brother Jack deteriorate

Sir Bobby is also suffering from dementia, after being diagnosed in 2020.

Mr Charlton thinks heading is responsible for the damage his brothers suffered to their brains.

He told ITV News he warns his grandsons not to head the ball when they play the game.

  • Tom Charlton warns his grandson not to head the football

Football is in denial, according to Mr Stiles, who says he believes the sport is not aware of how many ex-players have dementia.

He told ITV News "virtually nothing" is done for ex-footballers, and said nothing had really changed since his father's death.

"It's very disappointing", he said, adding the issue was "being totally ignored".

Mr Stiles said "perhaps football is frightened" of the consequences if they admit liability by agreeing to help with the issue of dementia among footballers.

"Football is absolutely swimming in money, no problem with money and yet you've got players who've given their life, and who were heroes to the fans, who are suffering for the lack of help," Mr Charlton adds.

  • 'Players are suffering for the lack of help'

It is already recommended that professional players limit heading in training, and it is banned for under 12s completely, but that's not enough, Mr Stiles feels.

One of the biggest scandals, he says, is the lack of scientific research passed on to current players about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - the degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.

Mr Stiles told ITV News he bets money that footballers Harry Kane and Kyle Walker do not know about CTE.

  • 'Harry Kane and Kyle Walker won't know about CTE'

"That's not right, these footballers should know the risks, then they can make their own informed decisions and that's never been done, and that is a disgrace," he says.

The two men have vowed to carry on their campaigning until they believe football address the issue, and they say we are still a long way from that point.