22nd October 2019

Written by Sabina Kadić-Mackenzie, Associate Partner

Edited by David Gaffney, Partner

Good morning,

An independent study has established a link between football and dementia. Jointly funded by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers Association, the landmark study has confirmed a long-suspected link between the sport and brain damage, although the exact causes remain unknown. While the findings will undoubtedly help to inform dementia research and care for years to come, in the present day it has generated some alarming headlines. Former professional footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die from dementia and were at significantly greater risk of Alzheimer's, motor neurone disease and Parkinson's, despite the associated health benefits of playing sport for a living. The conclusions are grim. But in a country already suffering from a childhood inactivity crisis and a worrying trend of girls in particular giving up on playing sports, we must also consider the effect such studies - or rather the headlines they generate - have on the grassroots game, which provides so many other health and social benefits. While reports such as this one on football and dementia are vital to our understanding of the causes of ill health and may one day even help to identify cures, it is nonetheless regrettable that they create general anxiety about a sport that has been played for centuries among future generations of players and parents. Having spent the last week caring for a relative with late onset dementia, no one wants a cure more than me, but not at the expense of general wellbeing or denying future generations the opportunity to enjoy and love the beautiful game. With the Rugby World Cup in full flow, that sport has been at the centre of a public debate on head injuries recently too, with law changes implemented to improve player safety. Wrestling, basketball, and of course boxing have been subject to increased scrutiny and have each made welcome improvements in health and safety regulations as a result. Progress is good. Greater knowledge aids progress. Football’s administrators must now determine what they do with this new knowledge and how they use it for the benefit of all participants, now and in the future.


Boris Johnson will urge MPs to back his Brexit deal later in a final bid to have the UK leave the EU by the end of this month. MPs will vote on whether to back the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which was published yesterday. If they back the deal, they will then be asked to approve an intensive three-day timetable in which to consider the legislation. Justin Trudeau has secured a narrow victory in Canada’s federal elections, despite lingering criticism over the handling of a corruption inquiry into the SNC Lavalin scandal and the recent emergence of blackface photographs. The prime minister will lead a minority government which will be forced to depend on other parties for support. Police investigating the death of Harry Dunn will go to America to interview the suspect. Anne Sacoolas left the UK following a road traffic collision which killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn in August. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab earlier revealed that UK police were unable to legally prevent Sacoolas from leaving and attempts to keep her here for “justice to be done” were ultimately unsuccessful.

Business & Economy

Audit firm EY, which signed off Thomas Cook’s financial health before its collapse, also wrote a report to justify awarding the travel firm’s former boss a £5 million bonus. Senior EY staff will appear before a panel of MPs investigating the collapse of the holiday provider later today. The firm is also facing investigation by the Financial Reporting Council. Medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew could face a backlash from investors after its chief executive stood down only 18 months into the role over a pay dispute. More than £1 billion was wiped from the market value of the FTSE 100 company after the surprise announcement. (£) Adam Neumann, the flamboyant co-founder of WeWork, is reportedly favouring a $9.5 billion rescue proposal from his largest investor. The deal would pay him around $200 million to cede his voting power and chairmanship of the crisis-hit property company. The board is expected to meet today to discuss the proposal, which would leave Neumann with less than 10% of the shares and voting rights. (£)


What happened yesterday?

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2% yesterday, although the pound wavered after prime minister Boris Johnson was denied a second “meaningful vote” on his new Brexit deal. Sterling was 0.1% weaker than the dollar. Against the euro it was up 0.13% at €1.16. The US markets had a markedly better day, with Wall Street boosted by trade optimism and tracking gains in global stocks. The S&P 500 advanced 0.7% and climbed back above 3,000 to its highest level in more than a month, aided by hopes that the US and China are edging toward a trade agreement. President Donald Trump indicated on Friday that a deal could be signed as soon as mid-November. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.9%, although the Dow gained only 0.2%, with gains capped by a decline in Boeing shares. Likewise, European markets kicked off a busy week of corporate earnings with broad advances. The Euro Stoxx 600 rose 0.6% and France’s Cav 40 gained 0.2%. Germany’s Dax was up 0.9%, although the country’s central bank warned that Europe’s largest economy may have entered a recession during the third quarter. 

Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times

Whats happening today?



Trading Announcements

Anglo American Reckitt Benckiser


Accrol Gp Mcbride

UK Economic Announcements

09:30) Public Sector Net Borrowing (11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Survey

Int. Economic Announcements

(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

Columns of Note

In The Times, Jimmy McLoughlin argues that the UK’s start-up revolution means anyone can become an entrepreneur. Taking an upbeat stance on the state of play for young British businesses, the former special adviser to the prime minister and co-founder of the young entrepreneurs network at the Institute of Directors notes that one of the greatest facilitators of this revolution is the rise of co-working spaces and accelerators. Still, there is more to be done when it comes to scaling businesses. He calls on the Treasury to alter rules to allow pension funds to invest up to five per cent in venture capital funds. Doing so, he says, would “put rocket boosters under this revolution at next month’s budget.” (£) In a thought-provoking piece for The Week, Ed West explains how single men and women are making politics more extreme. Politics is increasingly polarised: in the US the rise of the alt-right is juxtaposed with the campus identity politics movement, for example. The former is overwhelmingly male, the latter female. West attributes this sex segregation to increased freedom, fewer marriages and a rising, educated class of singles, who are much more likely to diverge into extreme political subcultures.

Cartoon source: The Evening Standard

Did you know?

The more cash you have in your wallet if you lose it, the more likely you are to have it returned.

Parliamentary highlights


Oral questions Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions) Debate on the Address Conclusion of the debate on the Queen's Speech: The economy Adjournment Decommissioning of the former SSI steelworks site - Anna Turley House of Lords Introduction(s) Baroness Sanderson of Welton and Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Oral questions Changing the law in respect of the offence of rape - Baroness Kennedy of Cradley Relationship between the number of police officers and the level and types of crimes committed - Lord Kennedy of Southwark Placing a duty on large public venues to assess the risk of an attack and put appropriate measures in place - Lord Harris of Haringey Impact on rural communities of Barclays Bank's decision to end Post Office cash withdrawal services - The Lord Bishop of St Albans Debate on the Address Health, social care, education, culture, welfare and pensions - Baroness Barran, Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Scottish Parliament The Parliament is on recess until 24 October 2019. TOMORROW House of Commons Oral questions Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions) Prime Minister’s Question Time Legislation Second reading of the Environment Bill Adjournment PSNI’s policy on data obtained from warrants in the case of the Loughinisland journalists – Mr David Davis House of Lords Oral questions Protecting Muslim women in Islamic marriages which are not civilly registered - Baroness Cox Effectiveness of the EU Settlement Scheme - Lord Greaves Securing justice for the Yazidi people of Northern Iraq - Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale British people who joined ISIS and are now being held in custody by the Kurds - Lord Dubs Legislation Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - motion to approve - Lord Duncan of Springbank Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - motion to regret - Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Electricity Supplier Obligations (Excluded Electricity) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - Lord Duncan of Springbank Waste and Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen

 Plant Health (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Lord Gardiner of Kimble European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - Earl Howe