Alix Popham Rugby Steve Thompson France Canada city Paris Alix Popham Rugby Steve Thompson France Canada city Paris

Former players to sue French rugby authorities over concussion

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A group of former players, including England World Cup winner Steve Thompson and All Black Carl Hayman, are to file legal action in France against the national rugby bodies over concussion, their lawyers told AFP on Wednesday.The lawsuit accuses the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the National Rugby League (LNR) of breaching safety and information obligations on concussion.It is the first of its kind in France and follows similar legal actions elsewhere.Thompson, the hooker when England won the 2003 World Cup, joined Brive in 2010.

He is among nearly 200 former players who have already launched lawsuits against other governing bodies, including World Rugby.The group of 15 former players suing the French authorities all played in the country.

Only two are French - Quentin Garcia, an amateur front-row forward, and Sarah Chlagou, a lock for Rennes who play in the top women's division.

The other 13 include former Wales back-row forward Alix Popham, Canada lock Jamie Cudmore and England back Dan Scarbrough. The group's lawyers said they intend to file "an action for liability" in the administrative court of Paris.They argue that "the occurrence of the various disorders affecting" their clients, such as permanent brain damage, early dementia, post-traumatic epilepsy, Parkinson's disease or depression, "could have been avoided", or at least reduced, if the FFR and the LNR "had fulfilled their respective obligations of safety, prudence, diligence and information".

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