Wife of Jeff Astle frustrated with FA over death

Jeff Astle the former West Bromwich Albion striker
Image caption Laraine Astle said her husband was a "prolific header" of the football

The widow of a former England footballer has said the FA has never accepted how the game contributed to her husband's death.

Jeff Astle, who played for West Bromwich Albion during the 1960s and 1970s, died 10 years ago.

A coroner ruled that the 59-year-old had suffered brain damage caused by heading heavy leather footballs.

The FA said "conflicting opinions" remained on the possible effects of heading a football over time.

Laraine Astle, from Netherseal, in Derbyshire, said: "I don't think they [the Football Association] want to hold their hands up and own up [that] the game that we loved proved to be a killer.

"[Jeff] died because he was a prolific header of the ball, no one has come near since. He scored more than half of his goals with his head.

"Most of the time it was with the big heavy leather balls that when wet, gained water and were three and a half times heavier. In bad weather it used to freeze solid."

'Fine footballer'

Mrs Astle said she and her three daughters had been unsuccessful in their bid to win compensation from the FA, despite the coroner's report.

An FA spokesperson said: "There remain conflicting opinions on the possible effects of frequent heading of a football over time.

"There are now standards set out in the laws of the game for the size, weight and pressure of footballs and we will continue to liaise with FIFA on this and other medical issues.

"[Jeff Astle] was a fine footballer and many fans, particularly those of West Bromwich Albion, will remember the great service he gave throughout his career, both to club and country."

Jeff Astle started his career at Notts County before moving to West Bromwich Albion in 1964.

He scored 137 goals in 292 league appearances for West Brom where he is recognised as one of the club's greatest players.

Mr Astle won his first England international call-up in 1969 and was picked for the 1970 World Cup squad in Mexico.

He will also be remembered for his guest appearances on Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's Fantasy Football League TV programme in the 1990s.

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