0909 GMT May 27, 2022
The English, Northern Irish and Scottish Football Associations said in a statement on Monday that they are also set to use a "graduated approach" to headers for 12 to 16-year-olds at grassroots level with immediate effect, Reuters reported.
The heading guidelines follow last year’s publication of Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk (FIELD) study undertaken by Glasgow University, which found former professionals were at more risk of dementia.
The FA said the new guidelines will take effect immediately but it will not recommend an end to headers during youth matches.
“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,” FA chief executive officer Mark Bullingham said.
“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.”
The FIELD study did not state that heading a ball was the reason behind the increased prevalence of degenerative neurocognitive disease among footballers but the FA said the decision was taken to mitigate any potential risks.
The FA confirmed the updated heading guidance has been produced in line with UEFA’s medical committee, which is seeking to publish Europe-wide guidelines later this year.