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18th Jul 2022

FA to trial removal of heading at age groups under 12

Callum Boyle

The trial has been granted by the IFAB

The Football Association (FA) will trial the removal of all heading from age groups under the age of 12 after being granted permission by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

The Athletic have reported that should the trial prove to be successful, heading could be removed entirely from the specified age groups as early as the start of the 2023/24 season.

Heading has been linked with with dementia after a study showed former professional footballers in Scotland between 1900 and 1976 were three-and-a-half times more likely to die with dementia being named as the cause of death.

Five of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side have also been diagnosed with the disease, with four of them sadly dying as a result of it.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) have called for stakeholders within the sport to create a fund to help players suffering from dementia.

FA heading

FA have no plans to change concussion laws

Last season saw the FA introduce a rule which limiting professional players to 10 high-force headers in training per week and in February 2021 concussion substitutes were also introduced. This allowed clubs to replace a player with a suspected brain injury without suffering a numerical disadvantage.

It was revealed last month however that the FA didn’t have any plans to follow Rugby Union guidelines in changing concussion laws, which would have meant the mandatory stand-down law for players would have been extended from seven days to 12.

Concussion laws have become a talking point in several other sports. On Saturday night, former former Wales rugby captain Ryan Jones revealed he had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 41.

FA heading

In September last year the first-ever game without heading was trailed as part of a fundraiser for the Head for Change charity.

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