Exclusive: PFA calls for action over 'dangerous' hybrid boots that caused injury to Wayne Rooney

Chief executive, Gordon Taylor, wants Fifa safety checks over stud and blade combination that caused Wayne Rooney injury

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has urged Fifa and boot manufacturers to introduce new safety regulations on "hybrid" boots in the aftermath of the incident that forced Wayne Rooney to miss England's World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.

Rooney has been wearing a protective headband having needed 10 stitches in his forehead after being caught by Phil Jones during a Manchester United training session – the second time in just over a year that he has suffered a similar injury. The England striker missed more than a month of last season after he sustained a six-inch gash in his leg during a match against Fulham last August after a clash with Hugo Rodallega, with United's doctors admitting that the injury could have been fatal had the cut been just one millimetre deeper and punctured his femoral artery.

Both are believed to have been caused by boots – known as "hybrids" – that use a combination of traditional metal studs and new-style blades that are made of plastic and can become sharp when exposed to concrete surfaces. Taylor first raised his concerns after Rooney's injury last year and has since held discussions with major boot manufacturers over the possibility of introducing a safety Kitemark to their products, with no regulations in place under Fifa's current rules.

Wayne Rooney suffers an horrific injury against Fulham Wayne Rooney suffers an horrific injury against Fulham  

"Wayne is a very high-profile player and both these incidents could have ended his career," Taylor told The Independent.

"It's put it into perspective because if you get an injury to a top player it gets a great deal of publicity, but you wonder how many times it has happened lower down the scale where there isn't so much focus. I think the boot manufacturers are becoming more and more aware there is a problem but I think it's something that needs to come from football with regard to health and safety issues. This has happened enough times for it not to be coincidence. It's very dangerous for us to ignore it.

"It's hard to get things changed but we made the same efforts with regards to all staff being trained in resucitation and first aid and the same efforts with easy access for ambulances to stadiums," Taylor added. "I don't see why this doesn't fall into that area because it could end up saving a career. This is something we want to pursue with Fifa.

"It is incumbent on us to have some kind of measure of regulation and a Kitemark. [Boot manufacturers] have been forewarned with the potential dangers and we should be doing all that we can to protect against this problem. Manufacturers are willing to take part in this because in a litigious day and age it could be a problem for them in the future."

Blades were first introduced by adidas in the mid 1990s when former Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston designed a new "Traxion" sole to be incorporated in his Predator boots that were designed to improve a player's ability to change direction at high speed. Sir Alex Ferguson banned bladed boots from Manchester United in 2005 after they were linked to a number of metatarsal and knee injuries but now most manufacturers produce their own versions of the hybrid soleplate as a safer alternative.

Roy Keane breaks his foot in 2005 Roy Keane breaks his foot in 2005  

Johnston sold his patents for the Predator and Traxion to adidas in 1998 but still retains an interest in the technology and has repeatedly warned that the new boots are putting players' careers at risk.

"I don't understand why no one has recognised what a big problem this is," he said. "It will only be a matter of time before one of the players sues a boot manufacturer because everyone in the industry knows it's dangerous. The industry and Fifa have to get together and do something about this – people are making hundreds of millions of pounds but nobody is sitting there with any common sense."

The Football Association first raised the issue in 2002 on the recommendation of Alan Hodson from their Medical and Exercise Science Department "in response to widespread concern over injuries sustained from boots with blades". Then-chairman Geoff Thompson wrote to Fifa expressing his concern and despite initially receiving "a favourable response", no action was taken.

Four years later, blades were investigated by Fifa's Medical Assessment and Research Centre (FMARC) but despite recording 61 incidents of "lacerations, abrasions and cuts" over the course of a single season in Europe, they were deemed to be no more dangerous than traditional studs.

Taylor is planning to raise the issue at the next meeting of FifPro – the organisation that represents players on the world stage.

"This is something we have been looking at for 11 years now and it's not going to go away," he said. "I've been amazed there doesn't seem to be any regulations apart from the referees having to check the studs before the game. Boot manufacturers say they test for wear and tear but they can't simulate such conditions as accidents that have happened in the past and will no doubt happen in the future."

A Fifa spokesman confirmed it will re-open its investigations into safety standards if raised by the PFA at the next FifPro meeting.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map