A 22-month research project by the University of Glasgow’s Brain Injury Group discovered former soccer players are three and a half times more likely to suffer from dementia and other serious neurological diseases.

Specifically, the study finds a five-fold increase in the risk of Alzheimer's, a four-fold increase in Motor Neurone disease and a two-fold increase in Parkinson’s.

The report was unable to establish whether the causes was due to repeated concussions, heading older leather footballs, or some other factor.

Many former players and doctors have been critical of the slow response of the Professional Football Association to the problem of dementia over the past decade.