Alzheimer’s Society will be the official charity partner of The Football Association (The FA) for the next two football seasons.
The charity expects this will generate significant funds for its work and also raise awareness of dementia among the footballing community.
Alzheimer’s Society will advise The FA and help research the cause of dementia and its risk factors. This follows an increase in the concerns around dementia and heading footballs.
Through the partnership The FA and local football clubs will be able to refer employees, players, former players, and fans to the charity for dementia support.
The FA’s employees will also be able to volunteer for Alzheimer’s Society.
'Our partnership with The FA is a huge step'
Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s been brilliant for all of us to enjoy an incredible few weeks of football after the year we’ve all had. For so many fans and former players living with dementia, that passion and common interest is their form of escapism after a diagnosis.
“Our partnership with The FA is a huge step in changing how people experience dementia within the sporting industry and couldn’t have come sooner.”
She said it has been “a catastrophic time for people with dementia”, and this partnership will ensure that millions of football supporters are made aware of services.
The charity partnership will work alongside the Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which is working to unite all sports to change the landscape of dementia and will fund research.
Geoff Hurst, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador and former footballer, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see The FA partner with Alzheimer’s Society, especially after a huge year for the nation’s most-loved sport. This partnership has the potential to change the landscape of dementia in football on a massive scale.
“Too many of my colleagues from the unforgotten team of ‘66 have been affected by dementia – a group of remarkable men.”
He added: “Throughout the pandemic, demand has increased for Alzheimer’s Society’s services, such as its Dementia Connect support line, but there are so many more who desperately need help and don’t know where to turn.
“By working with The FA, the charity can raise much-needed funds and ensure that the millions of football followers and their families know they don’t have to face dementia alone.”