We have today announced updated heading guidance for all age groups between under-six and under-18, in association with the Irish and Scottish FAs.
The updated heading guidance, which will be introduced immediately, will provide grassroots clubs, coaches and players with the recommended heading guidance for training sessions only. The guidance does not make any changes to the way matches are played.
Following the publication of the FA and PFA funded FIELD study, carried out by the University of Glasgow and published in October 2019 – we established the independently-chaired research taskforce to guide on possible changes to heading coaching, review concussion management protocols, and advise on future research projects.
Although there was no evidence in the FIELD study to suggest that heading the ball was the cause to the link with incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease, to mitigate against any potential risks the updated heading guidance has been produced in parallel with UEFA’s medical committee, which is seeking to publish Europe-wide guidelines later this year. The Irish FA and the Scottish FA will also adopt the same heading guidance.
The updated heading guidance includes:
• Heading guidance in training for all age groups between under-six and under-18
• No heading in training in the foundation phase (primary school children)
• Graduated approach to heading training for children in the development phase between under-12 to under-16
• Required ball sizes for training and matches for each age group
• No changes to heading in matches, taking into consideration the limited number of headers in youth games