Celtic hero Chris Sutton has claimed that footballing chiefs have "blood on their hands" after a study found "conclusive" evidence linking the sport and dementia.

His father Mike, a former player for Norwich City, is battling Alzheimer's.

His comments comes after Glasgow University-led research found professional footballers, born between 1900 and 1976, had a three and a half times higher rate of death due to neurodegenerative disease.

The report also found there was a four-fold increase in footballers developing motor neurone disease and the risk of Parkinson's was doubled.

 

READ MORE: Glasgow University study: 'Ex-footballers at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's and MND'

Sutton told the Daily Record: “The confirmation that there is a link between football and dementia brings me no satisfaction.

“It makes me angry. Angry for people like my dad, Mike, and other former footballers who are dying in the most horrible and humiliating way.

“Angry for future generations who will suffer, too, because this study was rolled out 15 years too late."

Sutton also made reference to Jeff Astle, a former England striker.

In 2002, a coroner ruled Astle died from dementia brought on by repeatedly heading the ball.

He continued: "They found that he [Astle] had a brain similar to that of a boxer. That was the moment to commission a study. Not in 2017.

“The PFA – led by Gordon Taylor – had a duty of care to their members. They let them down and, in my opinion, their chief executive has blood on his hands.

"Taylor’s reaction yesterday, about how these findings are ‘of considerable importance’ to their members, was an insult. It accepted no responsibility.

“If he had anything about him, he would have released a two-word statement, ‘I’m sorry’. Sorry to all the footballers I failed, past and present. Then the honourable thing would have been for him to walk."

Evening Times: Frank Kopel Frank Kopel

READ MORE: Glasgow parents warned about football injury risk after Glasgow study finds dementia link

Dementia has affected a number of former footballers including Celtic legend Billy McNeil, Dundee United's Frank Kopel, ex-Celtic hero Chris Sutton’s dad Mike and former Scotland manager Ally MacLeod.

Ex-Rangers player Fernando Ricksen died last month after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Researchers compared the causes of death of 7,676 former Scottish, male professional footballers against 23,000 matched individuals from the general population.

Players were less likely to die of other common diseases including heart disease and some cancers, including lung cancer and lived on average three and a quarter years longer.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said it was "incumbent on football globally to come together to address this issue in a comprehensive and united manner".

He added: "Research must continue to answer more specific questions about what needs to be done to identify and reduce risk factors."