Heading restricted in football training for U-18s in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland

2020-02-25 09:02:12Xinhua Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download

New guidelines to restrict young football players from heading the ball in training were introduced by the Football Associations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday.

The Football Association of Wales said its guidance for coaches on children heading the ball was currently under review with the findings being made available later this year.

The new rules will see guidance in heading the ball during training for all age groups between under-six and under-18. No heading will be allowed in training in the foundation phase, affecting primary school children.

There will be a graduated approach to heading training for children in the development phase between the under-12 to under-16 age groups.

There will also be new requirements on ball sizes for training and matches for each age group.

The new guidelines acknowledge heading will begin to form part of the game at 12 and should be permitted, however, coaches will be encouraged to promote a style of play that limits long passing. Heading will remain restricted to one training session a week for 16- and 17-year-olds.

It comes in light of a major study last October, led by the University of Glasgow, which revealed the first major insights into lifelong health outcomes in former professional footballers.

The study suggested that former footballers were more than three times more likely to die from a brain disease.

Although there was no evidence in the study to suggest that heading the ball was the cause to the link with the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease, the updated heading guidelines have been produced in consultation with Europe's football ruling body UEFA and The English FA to mitigate against any potential future risks being established.

Mark Bullingham, CEO of the English FA said: "This updated heading guidance is an evolution of our current guidelines and will help coaches and teachers to reduce and remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football.

"Our research has shown that heading is rare in youth football matches, so this guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game."


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