Sport

Heading ban for children during soccer training in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Heading ban for children during soccer training in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Heading the ball in training sessions has been outlawed for primary school children under the age of 12 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The English, Northern Irish and Scottish Football Associations said in a statement that they are also restricting the headers for 12 to 16-year-olds at grassroots level with immediate effect.

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," said 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 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.

Below is some of the reaction to the decision online: