The Independent Office for Police Conduct has revealed that it has passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider criminal charges against two police officers.
Atkinson, who played for Aston Villa from 1991 until 1995, died after being shot with a police Taser outside his father’s house in Meadow Close, Trench, Telford on August 15, 2016.
He was 48.
The IOPC said their investigation had gathered evidence "which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force".
Three West Mercia Police officers were twice interviewed under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices in relation to the incident.
The third officer has not been referred to the CPS.
The police constables had attended the incident and were involved in detaining Mr Atkinson outside the address before he was taken to Princess Royal Hospital Telford where he died.
IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: "On the basis of the evidence gathered I have decided to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential criminal charges over the interaction two police officers had with Dalian Atkinson.
"This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and I am grateful for the patience shown by all concerned. We have kept West Mercia Police, Dalian’s family, and HM Coroner informed during the course of the investigation.”
At the request of the CPS, an expert report from a further pathologist being prepared.
The IOPC said its investigation report has also been sent to West Mercia Police to determine whether or not disciplinary proceedings should follow.
The information has also been shared with HM Coroner to assist a future inquest.
A referral to the CPS is made when the IOPC investigation indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed.
It does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.
The CPS will decide whether charges should be brought.
ACC Martin Evans of West Mercia Police said: "West Mercia Police fully co-operated with the Independent Office for Police Conduct throughout their independent investigation into the death of Dalian Atkinson and continues to do so.
"Mr Atkinson tragically died in the early hours of Monday 15 August 2016 in Telford after a Taser was deployed whilst police responded to an incident in Meadow Road, Trench. The incident was referred to the IOPC, as is mandatory with any death following police contact.
"West Mercia Police is aware of the IOPC decision to refer two officers to the Crown Prosecution Service for potential criminal offences following its investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Atkinson.
"Our thoughts remain with Mr Atkinson’s family and friends, and all those affected. We understand the need for answers by those directly affected by this tragedy and also by the wider community that West Mercia Police serves. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”