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'He failed my Dad, it's heartbreaking': Sutton calls on Taylor to stand down

The former Celtic striker delivered an emotional address on BT Sport.

CHRIS SUTTON HAS called for PFA chief Gordon Taylor to ‘do the right thing’ and step down from his role after ‘failing to protect’ the players in his organisation.

Speaking on BT Sport, Sutton was stinging in his criticism of the 73-year-old’s failure to flag the cuts made to research into CTE [Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy] — a degenerative brain disease — and its links to heading footballs.

CTE has found to be common in American football players who suffer repeated concussive and sub-concussive blows to the head due the force of collisions in the game.

More recently, Dawn Astle, daughter of former West Brom legend Jeff Astle, has campaigned for the FA to increase their contribution to footballers suffering from dementia as a result of CTE and put more money behind research into the disease.

Gordon Taylor File Photo PFA chief Gordon Taylor has been in the spotlight this month regarding his 'golden handshake' retirement package. Source: Steven Paston

Sutton said: “My view is, and I’ve seen a lot written this week, that Gordon Taylor has done a lot of good things for the PFA.

“No doubt about that. But Gordon Taylor should have stood down before.

“He should have stood down because of the dementia fiasco. My Dad suffers from dementia, he’s 74. A lot of older players suffer from it. It’s likely he has CTE.

“We go to see my Dad, he doesn’t know who I am anymore. He doesn’t know who my daughter is anymore, he doesn’t know who my Mum is anymore.

“Gordon Taylor and the PFA started testing alongside the FA in 2001 — 13 years later that testing was abandoned.

Gordon Taylor is head of his trade union, it’s his job to stand up for his players, to represent his players and to do everything he possibly can for his players.

“But he failed my Dad. He failed hundreds of ex-players. We have World Cup winners who are rotting away. It is the most horrible disease.

“At the time that the testing stopped, he didn’t flag it up. He must have known, he didn’t say. Why didn’t he say anything?

“I know there’s been a lot written about finances and this, that and the other. But that was wrong. Because of that, he should have stood down.

It’s time for a new voice. Somebody who has a duty of care to these dementia sufferers.

“We can’t blame Gordon Taylor for the testing failing, of course we can’t. But had there been a link found, maybe my Dad would be in a different position and hundreds of thousands of other footballers around the world would be in a different position.

“Gordon Taylor should have stood down then, he should stand down now and do the right thing.

That is inexcusable what he did. My Dad is inexcusable and it is heart-breaking.” 

Gavin Cooney
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Correction

An earlier version of this article said Premier League teams were asked to contribute toward ‘Gordon Taylor’s retirement’. This was in fact PL chief Richard Scudamore, not PFA chief Taylor.

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