New heading guidance introduced to English football

New guidance on heading will come into place for the 2021/22 season, following studies undertaken on behalf of a subgroup of the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC).

The guidance has been agreed between The FA, Premier League, EFL, the PFA and the LMA and will cover the whole of English football and all its playing members. It will apply to all clubs in the Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, the National League System, the Women’s Football Pyramid Tiers 3 and below, all grassroots football and across the England national teams.

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According to a Premier League statement, the newly agreed guidance focuses mainly on heading in training, citing that a maximum of ten high-force headers – which occur following a pass of more than 35 metres or from set-pieces – should be made throughout a week of training. It also details different ways headers can be made with less force, thereby reducing the impact on a player’s head.

The guidance has also made it clear that clubs should tailor heading sessions according to player profiles – dependant on gender, age, playing position, the number of headers they expect to make per match and the nature of these headers.

The Premier League also confirmed that the main objective of the research and eventual guidance is to protect the welfare of all players as best as possible and minimise their exposure to heading, while trying not to affect the role it plays within the sport.

There have been grave concerns over heading the ball in recent years, with many linking dementia to the action.

Research will continue into how best to incorporate effective safety measures into heading over the course of the 2021/22 season, with a formal review of the guidance by the PFNCC set to take place in June 2022.

Tomas Soucek, Ben White

Tomas Soucek and Ben White challenge to head the ball / Pool/Getty Images

PFA Chief Executive Maheta Molango insists there is still more to come regarding the issue.

“The PFA welcomes the collaborative approach to understand further the impact of heading in football. Our members’ health and wellbeing are paramount. We hope these initial steps and enhanced protections will make a vital difference to players’ long-term health.”

“The introduction of this guidance represents one part of developing a coordinated game-wide strategy and needs to be combined with other areas, such as improvement in head-injury management and greater collective support for retired players,” he continued.

“Critically, the guidance is only a first step. As identified within the paper, more research is required to improve how we protect current players and future generations,” Molango confirmed. “We look forward to working collaboratively with football’s stakeholders to continue research and educate managers, coaches and players regarding the new guidance.”

Source of the article

Author: XenBet

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