The Telegraph’s campaign for research into the link between football and dementia helped secure a vital victory on Thursday when the FA committed to a major new study into what affected families have called “sport’s silent scandal”.

Jeff Astle’s family have been unremitting in calling for answers ever since the former England striker died in 2002 from brain injuries sustained during his playing career and The Telegraph have also taken up the campaign with an influential series of hard-hitting reports.

The FA and PFA finally responded to the mounting pressure on Thursday with a joint announcement inviting independent researchers to submit proposals that will answer the question of whether footballers are suffering disproportionately from degenerative brain injury. The FA’s head of medicine, Charlotte Cowie, presented the case for research to the FA’s Board on Wednesday and funding for a six-figure sum has been signed off.

The research question is almost identical to The Telegraph’s repeated campaign suggestion throughout the past year. The news has been welcomed, albeit cautiously, by the families of those players who have been suffering the devastating impact of degenerative brain disease after a series of unfulfilled previous commitments.