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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 19:42 GMT 20:42 UK
MP wins over Sven in socks campaign
England team badge and John Smith graphic
A Welsh Labour MP says he has helped to persuade the England football team to wear special socks on their flight to the Far East for the World Cup finals.

John Smith, the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, said the socks could help to combat the risk of the players contracting deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Sven Goran-Eriksson
Sven Goran-Eriksson has been approached

Research has shown the socks may help prevent the onset of the condition if they are worn by air travellers during long-haul flights.

Mr Smith has been a long-term campaigner on deep-vein thrombosis following the recent spate of deaths of airline passengers - including one from his constituency in south Wales.

"I've been told by the Football Association that the whole squad will be under orders to wear the stockings while flying out, that's how seriously they are taking things," said Mr Smith on Wednesday.

The MP now plans to deliver 23 pairs of the knee-length socks to the England football coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Mr Smith wants the footballers including stars David Beckham and Michael Owen to wear them when they fly out to Japan and Korea for the finals.

Earlier he wrote to the England coach to alert him to the potential problems.

David Beckham
Mr Smith hopes David Beckham will wear the socks

He now expects to deliver the socks, which are being supplied by a hosiery manufacturer, to the FA's offices in Soho Square, London.

Earlier this month the MP was elected chairman of an all-party group set up to investigate the causes of flight-related deep vein thrombosis

More than 40 long-haul airline passengers are known to have died from DVT clots.

They include Emma Christoffersen, from Newport, Susan Mavir-Ross, from Llay in Wrexham, Thomas Lamb, from Cardiff, and policeman John Thomas from Cowbridge, south Wales - Mr Smith's own constituent.

Solicitors representing nearly 300 claimants went to the High Court in London in January to launch legal proceedings against 30 major airlines.

Emma Christoffersen
DVT victim Emma Christoffersen

Medical research has shown that clots develop in blood vessels deep in the legs when circulation slows - when people remain seated for long periods, for example.

The clots can prove fatal if they break off and are carried to the lungs, blocking the flow of blood.

Several medical reports have claimed a link between DVT and air travel, although it is yet to be proved.

See also:

24 Apr 02 | Showbiz
Ulrika admits Sven 'relationship'
11 Apr 02 | Wales
MP to lead DVT deaths probe
21 Mar 02 | England
Research call after DVT death
08 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
'Economy class' deaths probe
23 Oct 00 | C-D
Deep vein thrombosis
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