Matt Le Tissier: Cardiac Problems in Footballers
Mr Matt Le Tissier is a former premier league and international footballer and football pundit. He is the second-highest ever goal scorer for Southampton, was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1990, and was the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League.
He joined the World Council for Health to discuss the cardiac problems appearing in professional footballers and the surrounding controversy.
This is an edited segment from the weekly live General Assembly meeting on February 28, 2022. This presentation can also be found on Rumble and Odysee. The full General Assembly Meeting is available in our Multimedia Library.
Here’s what WCH members, staff, and coalition partners are saying about Matt’s presentation:
“Thank you Matt for speaking out!!” -Karen McKenna
“Very brave, thank you!” -Claudia Chaufan, MD., PhD
“Thanks and respect to you Matt. You are among like minded people here: we speak the truth.” -Dr Mark Trozzi
“We speak the truth and are ostracized for it and find a new family with the WCH!” -Stephan Becker
“Thank you for speaking out, Matt!” -Emma Sron
“Thank you for speaking out.” -Rob Verkerk PhD
“Football is religion in Europe. Unthinkable why there is no public outrage so far. -Chandra Vikash
Matt Le Tissier === [00:00:00] Dr. Jennifer Hibberd: Our first guest speaker today is Matt Le Tissier in the UK. Matt is a former professional footballer. In 2020, he was voted Europa’s best premier player of all time. His career includes being a football TV, pundit, and honorary president of Guernsey football club. Matt is going to share his knowledge about cardiac problems in footballers. Matt, the microphone is yours for 20 minutes. Matt Le Tissier: Good [00:01:00] evening everyone. Firstly, can I just say,thank you very much for all the fantastic work that you guys are doing. It’s been a real, ray of hope to see professionals, actually trying to go about their business, in, in a way that the people can understand, us lay people. I have no medical qualifications. But I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all you guys. first and foremost, so yes, I was a former premier league footballer for 17 years. I played for Southampton football, my whole career, and I represented my country. I on a few occasions as well, and what’s been startling to me, over this last 12 months or so. Are the reports of so many footballers and not just Footballers, but so many sports people who are really struggling with respiratory problems and heart problems on their field of play, on the training field, and it’s something that has been a real concern for me. Because I spent, as I said, 17 years [00:02:00] as a professional footballer and I, with my hand on my heart, I can honestly say in those 17 years, I didn’t want to see a colleague of mine or an opponent of mine who had to leave the field of play or needs the training field. Matt Le Tissier: And remember that that’s pretty much nearly every day for 17 years, not once in those 17 years, did I see somebody leave the field of play or my training field with heart problems? and this past 12 months I’ve seen so many reports from all around the world of athletes going down with, with heart problems, on the field of play. And it’s not just not just the Philippines here in the UK, the amount of medical emergencies this season, soccer matches has been unprecedented. I, again, in my 17 years, I [00:03:00] don’t think I ever was forced to stop playing because of a medical emergency in the crowd in that time. But here in the UK, it seems to be happening, every week at the moment. And the numbers are startling and I have been calling for the professional footballers association, the, the union of the players, to do an investigation, to see what is going on because the numbers have, have jumped quite considerably in my opinion. And that’s just from a layman’s point of view from somebody who watches a lot of football, who, takes a lot of interest in a lot of different sports. Matt Le Tissier: I see a lot of what is going on. and so I’m, at the moment, trying to find, drum up enough support from fellow, ex footballers, and from medical experts to write a letter to the professional footballers association, asking them to, have an investigation into why these things are happening. I’ve made no assumptions. all I’m asking for is that [00:04:00] somebody takes a little bit of responsibility and actually comes out and says, right, something’s going on here? It’s not quite right, not just on the pitch, but you know, in the stands as well. and I’m hoping. We with a letter that we ride with the right people behind this. we can make some kind of a difference in some kind of investigation, to, to the PFA so that they can actually take some responsibility to themselves. This is an organization that is meant to have the best interests of the players at heart. And if that is the case, then there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why they shouldn’t launch an investigation, as to what is going on in the field of play with young fit athletes, all around the world. So that’s been the main thrust of what I’ve been trying to do over the last few months. I’ve managed to, get a little bit of air time on, the radio over here in the UK. So I’m still in the UK here, so I’ve managed [00:05:00] to do a couple of interviews on the radio, with talk radio, and with GB news, and managed to, to get my, thoughts out in a, in a calm and rational manner. it’s been quite a strange experience. having spent all of my life in, in sport, having to, then come out and speak about what’s going on and then to be. You know, almost attacked, all the social media and through the mainstream media here as well. as some kind of right-wing extremists has been, quite an interesting, period of time for me to go through. but I stand firm, I stand for what I believe in, I stand for what I see with my own eyes. and I just wanted to bring to attention to the authorities that something’s going on here, that that’s not quite right. And we need to find out the exact reason why that is. So, that’s kind of where I come from. Matt Le Tissier: I have no, I have no medical qualifications, as I said, I feel, a little bit inferior of the company that I’m keeping this evening or this on this call, but, Dr. Tess [00:06:00] Lawrie, very kindly asked me if I would come along and speak about what I’ve been trying to do over these last, few months. And so, thank you very much, Dr. Tess for inviting me along. If there’s any questions that, that anybody would like to ask her, I’m more than happy just to give my perspective, of that as a former professional footballer and somebody who’s spent the last 17, nearly 20 years working in the media, which, came to an end about 18 months ago because of, probably because of the stance that I was taking, in being, given my opinion on things that weren’t really aligned with the government narrative. Matt Le Tissier: So, so I, I lost my job in the mainstream media. But if you ask me now, would I do the same thing again, and a hundred percent I would because I feel like it’s the right thing to do for, for the position that we’re in. Dr. Tess Lawrie: Thanks Matt. May I ask a question? Footballers are, there amongst the most highly paid? Probably the most highly paid [00:07:00] professionals in the world? I would, I, you know, I would imagine that the clubs would really prioritize their health and want to investigate these new, illnesses and, and, and events that are happening. Have you found, the, the more high, more receptive audience for, for your suggestion of these investigations among the bigger clubs, or the wealthier clubs or, you know, as opposed to, to, you know,non-professional clubs? I mean, where would be, where would be the starting point? I mean, I’m, I’m actually amazed that the owners of these football clubs with theincredibly expensive assets at their disposal are being so flippant in, just allowing them to be injected with these,the, the vaccines at the moment, which, as we all know, are, still in the trial phases. And there is no long-term [00:08:00] safety data on them. So it, if I was a owner of a, of a football club with all these highly priced assets underneath me, I think I’d be a little bit more careful about what I was going to allow these guys to be, to be taking. So it seems very odd that there’s been nothing coming from any football club. Although, I think I read out in Romania, Steaua Bucharest just last week, the owner of that club has come out and said that, they do not want to, they don’t want to sign, they won’t, they won’t play vaccinated players. Because he feels like there’s a, there’s some strength missing from them. And they, they look like they’re a bit weaker than the, than the non-vaccinated players. And that’s the only football club that I’ve heard in the world that have come out and actually been brave enough to come out and say something, that might be in favor of the non-vaccinated player. Dr. Jennifer Hibberd: As well, I think the fact that you lost your [00:09:00] job says a lot, and, you would think that the owners will start sweating bullets. And thank you. Thank you, Matt, for taking a stand to draw attention to this health crisis, and yes, Matt, you were in the UK and represent the athletes of the world. And beyond your presence here is invaluable, sharing what you know, and, and what you’re standing up for, especially having worked in, in football your whole life. This is really very significant and let’s hope that the announcement in Romania might make, other other football clubs, look within and decide what’s of value to them within their club. Christof, would you like to address any questions in the Q and A and the chat? Christof Plothe: Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you very much. my, for speaking out here,I’ve been a great fan of yours in the old days because of your authenticity, and it’s great to know that you kept up that authenticity after stopping to play. So thank you. Thank you very much for your voice out there. About the last thing you mentioned, about the position you [00:10:00] lost, Dr. Laibow asked the question, what the position was that you took that caused you to lose your position in the media? Matt Le Tissier: Um, so I, I questioned, I, I pretty much refused to wear the black lives matter badge, that was given to all presenters on Sky Sports over here. I wasn’t happy about it. I knew what that organization stood for. And, I wasn’t comfortable in wearing and wearing that. And I publicly came out and said that. And I don’t think that, did me any favors. I also, was quite vocal in calling out what I felt was, some skull debris from the, from the, the teams in the premier league when the premier league season was halted, when it was suspended and they were trying to get the season finished. There were, the premier league were doing lots of testing on every player and coach, a member of staff of every premier league team. And so every week the premier league would come out and they would say, well, [00:11:00] we’ve done this many tests and this many people have tested positive, but they wouldn’t specify where those positives were. Matt Le Tissier: They didn’t tell you which club that they came from. And so the only way that you would know where the positive cases were is if the clubs themselves actually took it upon themselves to put their hands up and, say, “Yes. Those six cases that are positive this week, they’re all from us.” Now some clubs chose to do that and some clubs chose not to do that, but all the clubs that chose to put their hand up and say, yes, it’s one of our players, or one of our coaches that are, have tested positive. All of those coaches were, all of those teams were either in the relegation zone or just above the relegation zone. And they were playing a what I, from what I could see, they were playing a game that they were trying to get the season to not be finished. They wanted it null and void [00:12:00] so that they couldn’t get relegated. And they get another season in the premier league with all the riches that go with that. And so I made a comment, on my, on my social media feed. And, I, I just put out there that I just made a comment. I said, isn’t it strange that the only teams that are coming out and admitting to having COVID cases are the ones that are either in the relegation or just above the relegation zone. And that was it. That, that was my opinion. So, so factually I was absolutely right. But I, I got a call from, my employer,to say that one of the Chief executives of the football clubs in the relegation zone had actually contacted my employer to complain about me and my insinuation in the tweet that I put out. So, those two things, went against me and, yeah, I knew I was treading the same line, but I didn’t care. Cause I feel like the truth is far more important. Christof Plothe: Thank you. Another question from Michael Alexander [00:13:00] was Matt, why do you think this problem is so apparent in football, but not in other sports, such as the NBA, does they have had some problems with certainly cover them up if they had them? Matt Le Tissier: Yeah. it’s a good question. Without knowing, you know, the, the entirety of the sport, I don’t watch the NBA, so I haven’t seen, what’s happened there. It’s, I, I would imagine that football is, you know, played over quite a long period of time, where you are pushing yourselves, physically to the limit and you’re working your heart to its absolute limit. And I think in those cases, I think perhaps you may be more, more liable to, to a little bit of, something cropping up at the heart. If you’re actually pushing it to the limits where perhaps in other sports, you’re not quite pushing it to the, to the same limits, but there have been, there have been instances of, of this stuff in other sports, you know. Matt Le Tissier: Just last week [inaudible] the tennis player [00:14:00] has come out and believes that, they said he believed that, you know, the problems he’s been having, because he, he believes it was because of his he’s maybe the third vaccine, you know, I, I can’t, I lose count. There’s so many wherever they are in different countries, whatever booster they’re wrong. I lose count a little bit, but, I think it has been in other sports. I saw two,two female cricketers in the same game, collapsed with, with problems. So it hasn’t just been, to football, but I think because of the profile of the game, I think that those things kind of stand out a little bit more. Matt Le Tissier: There’s another question from Stefan Becker. We only know about the deaths on the field during the game. Do you have any insight into complications, death, et cetera, during training or off the pitch? Are your doctors aware of this and do you start a regular screening lab tests? That’s a good question. And that is, that’s kind of one of the things that I wanted to ask about the PFA, are these things being monitored? Are the issues, are there, are there,practices in place that are [00:15:00] there that you can report these things? If there are instances incidents in training, you know, are these things being reported properly? Are they, are they really looking at it in a, in a really critical manner to be able to say, well, hang on a minute, you know, we’re noticing a little bit of an increase in this one. Why is that happening? You know, and I’m, I, I found it really odd because I I’ve had, I’ve had every vaccine, that I, that I could possibly probably have had, up until this particular one. And because I chose to, to wait a little bit for some, for some more longer term safety data, I’ve been, labeled as an anti-vaxxer, which has been, which has been very strange, and I’m not insinuating that it is a hundred percent to do with the vaxx that all the problems that, they’re having, all I’ve said is we should be investigating this to find out what is the cause of all this? You know, obviously. Yes, it’s, it’s come out during the vaccine rollout. but there may be other issues that, that [00:16:00] have, cropped up. And if we’re not investigating it properly, when never going to find out exactly what it is that is causing these problems. Christof Plothe: There is another question from one of our steering member, here, in the committee, that’s from Shabnam Palesa Mohamed, and she asks, Mohammed Ali was one of the greatest athletes and activists of all time. Are the number of activist athletes since then increasing? And how can they be encouraged to join World Council for Health? Matt Le Tissier: That’s a very good question. I mean, I I’ve never ever considered myself as an activist. I consider myself as a reasonably sane human being with, logic and critical thinking. And,and I’d like to think that there was more people like me. however, it’s, it’s been. A fairly lonely place from where I’ve been speaking in the last few months, although I have noticed a few more [00:17:00] people are actually now starting to come out and give me support and say, you know, great what you’re doing, which is lovely, but it would also be nice if they would actually publicly come out and, and say what they’re thinking as well instead of hiding behind me. But, you know, I’ve got pretty broad shoulders. I can cope with that, but it would be nice to get a bit more support. Glen Macko asked, is there any particular professional investigation group that you would trust to search for the root causes? That’s a good question. And obviously that’s something that would have to be, looked at when they’re talking about if they’re going to have an investigation, the next point after that is to make sure that the people that are doing the investigating, are not, do not have any conflicts of interests. I think is probably the easiest way of putting that. I think it’s important that, the people that are chosen are, agreed upon by a large subset of people that, that, that can all agree that the people in question are trustworthy and, and [00:18:00] will do a proper. Christof Plothe: Well, you’re getting a lot of support here in the chat. and, one is from Dr. Claudia Chaufan as well. she says you are very brave and gives you her thanks. And, she asks how, we can all help individually and collectively to support your work? I think the more, the more, relevant data that I have to hand to, to back up any arguments that I might have, is always useful. I’ve been, I think, Laura, Laura has been very helpful, with passing on stuff that she gets, which has been, which has been really good. But yeah, the more data that I can have, the more evidence that I can have, to backup where I’m coming from. Obviously it makes things a lot easier, what people try to fire back at you that, you know, you’re just, you’re just an export blow. Matt Le Tissier: What do you know about, and is it, so anything, anything like that factual and evidence-based is, is always a welcome. We have another [00:19:00] question about, are your motives to leave, Black Live matters movement, be. Say a few words about your motives? Yeah, I wasn’t comfortable. I, the, the, the week or so leading up to, what had happened, I’ve actually been doing a little bit of research on what the, the black lives matter, the Antifa people, what they stood for. And I, I didn’t agree with what they stood for. And so that made me incredibly uncomfortable, that I was being asked to wear the badge with those specific words on it. I went back to my employer and I said, look, if I’m happy to wear any badge that states against racism, we have a campaign here in the UK through the sort of the premier league anyway, which is the Kick It Out campaign. And so I was, I went to my employer and said, look, I I’m quite happy to wear the kick it out campaign, which is our campaign against racism in this country. And so, so that was kind of my way of, of going to them [00:20:00] and asking for a conference. And and so that’s what I chose to do. I just, I just wasn’t, it, didn’t sit comfortably with me. And so I, I, I was, you know, maybe, maybe stupid enough to speak out, but, but as I said, I stand by what I did, what I’ve said, and I wouldn’t change. I wouldn’t change it at all to, to still have my job there, because quite frankly, the organization has gone the way that it has. I’m actually quite relieved not to be working for them anymore. Christof Plothe: Thank you for that clarification. Dr. Jennifer Hibberd: Thank you. Thank you so much for your, for your integrity and speaking your truth. There’s no doubt your talk here will have given pause to many listening to consider looking into the events you’re speaking about here. Thank you so much. So happy to have you here with us today., [00:21:00]