EPL

New heading guidance introduced across all levels of English football

By Sports Desk July 28, 2021

Guidance on heading will be introduced to every level of English football for the 2021-22 campaign, the Football Association (FA) has announced.

The new heading guidance has been agreed between the relevant bodies and will be applicable from the Premier League down to grassroots football and across the England national teams.

The advice will not affect football matches or the rules of the game, but instead the heading that occurs in training sessions, where most heading is performed.

Based on multiple studies by the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee, the initial focus of the guidance involves high-force headers, which usually follow a long pass (more than 35 metres) or from crosses and set-pieces.

The headers branded 'high force' will be limited to 10 per any training week, with clubs also recommended to develop tailormade player profiles to protect welfare.

While club staff will be encouraged to monitor recovery from heading exposure, further guidance also identifies how to produce lower-force headers – for example, throwing a ball for a header instead of kicking it.

Due to early evidence suggesting neck muscle is important for higher-force heading, a strength and conditioning advisory panel will identify safe ways to improve neck and torso strength.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "Our priority is to make the game as safe as possible for all players.

"We have worked collaboratively across football to undertake these initial research projects to help us further understand the impact of heading and inform guidance for all levels of the game.

"This is a long-term piece of work. We will now build on these studies and we remain committed to further research to ensure we have the right approach in place to protect the welfare of all players."

For amateur clubs, the guidance is for heading practice to be limited to one session per week and no more than 10 headers a session, with players expected to monitor themselves.

This guidance aims to reduce overall exposure and improve welfare, while not affecting personal development of heading technique.

At youth level, guidelines have been in place since February 2020, with further updates being published on Wednesday.

FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham said: "We already have the most comprehensive guidelines in the world for youth football and now we are introducing, in partnership with the other football bodies, the most comprehensive adult football guidelines anywhere.

"Our heading guidance now reaches across all players, at all levels of the game.

"These measures have been developed following studies with coaches and medics and represent a cautious approach while we learn more.

"We are committed to further medical research to gain an understanding of any risks within football, in the meantime this reduces a potential risk factor.

"Overall it is important to remember that the overwhelming medical evidence is that football and other sports have positive impacts on both mental and physical health."

The relevant governing bodies will continue research before another formal review in June 2020 as football attempts to protect players' long-term health.

Related items

  • Rangers 0-2 Lyon: Gerrard's milestone European match ends in defeat Rangers 0-2 Lyon: Gerrard's milestone European match ends in defeat

    Steven Gerrard's 50th European match as a manager ended in defeat as Rangers were beaten 2-0 by Lyon in their Europa League opener.

    Having reached the last 16 in each of the previous two Europa League campaigns, Rangers were looking to make home advantage count against what look set to be their toughest rivals in Group A.

    But Lyon – whose previous European match was a Champions League semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich in 2020 – had too much quality on Thursday.

    Karl Toko Ekambi's 23rd-minute stunner put Lyon ahead, with James Tavernier's own goal condemning Rangers to their first ever Europa League group stage defeat at Ibrox.

    Connor Goldson could easily have been dismissed for a reckless challenge on Toko Ekambi in the 13th minute as Lyon settled quicker, though the visiting forward showed no signs of being hindered with an exceptional opener.

    Having been given time to approach the area, Toko Ekambi fooled John Lundstram with some fine footwork before curling a sublime finish across Allan McGregor and into the bottom-right corner.

    Joe Aribo stinging the palms of Anthony Lopes sparked the home crowd into life, and Lundstram almost atoned for his part in Lyon's opener with a low strike that flashed inches wide.

    Lopes had to be at his best to keep Ryan Kent, though Islam Slimani might have put Lyon 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time had he connected with Malo Gusto's cross.

    Yet Lyon struck again early in the second half. Rangers were cut open by Lucas Paqueta's pass and though Slimani's effort was blocked, the rebound bounced in off the unfortunate Tavernier.

    Tavernier was inches away from dragging Rangers back into it with a superb free-kick, only for the post to come to Lyon's rescue as Gerrard's milestone match in Europe proved a disappointing one.

    What does it mean? Ibrox no fortress for Rangers

    Of his 50 European matches in charge, Gerrard has won 25, drawn 16 and lost nine, with his team conceding 48 times in total.

    Rangers had never lost a Europa League group game at Ibrox before Thursday's defeat, though including qualifiers, they have now lost three of their past four home matches in European competition, and Gerrard will need to find a way to turn that around if they are to mount a challenge in this tournament.

    Toko Ekambi's quality shines through

    With Memphis Depay now at Barcelona, Toko Ekambi – who scored 14 Ligue 1 goals last season – has the chance to assert himself as a major threat for Lyon this season.

    He had failed to score in his five Ligue 1 appearances prior to the trip to Glasgow, but his finish – from one of his two attempts – was a sign of the quality the former Villarreal forward has in his locker. It could well kick-start his campaign.

    Goldson caught cold

    Just back from injury, Goldson looked way off the pace at the centre of Rangers' defence, with his early booking for a lunge on Toko Ekambi limiting his impact even further. 

    He was still typically combative, winning possession back on seven occasions – a joint team-high – but it often looked as though Slimani had the beating of him.

    What's next?

    Rangers are back at Ibrox on Sunday, hosting Motherwell, while Lyon face the small task of an away trip to Paris Saint-Germain in their next Ligue 1 outing.

  • Leicester City 2-2 Napoli: Osimhen double earns dramatic comeback point Leicester City 2-2 Napoli: Osimhen double earns dramatic comeback point

    Victor Osimhen completed a late double to bring Napoli from behind and salvage a 2-2 draw against Leicester City, who finished the game with 10 men.

    Napoli were behind after just nine minutes thanks to Ayoze Perez's first goal in 15 games in the Europa League Group C opener at the King Power Stadium.

    Harvey Barnes set up the opener and looked to have wrapped the three points up for Leicester in the 64th minute, but Osimhen got them back in the game with a beautiful lob over Kasper Schmeichel.

    Osimhen then headed home a dramatic equaliser in the 87th minute to maintain Napoli's unbeaten start to the season, with Wilfred Ndidi shown a second yellow card in stoppage time to compound a disappointing end to the game for Leicester.

  • Nuno unsure if Lucas and Bergwijn will be fit for Chelsea after 'terrible' injury luck Nuno unsure if Lucas and Bergwijn will be fit for Chelsea after 'terrible' injury luck

    Nuno Espirito Santo is unsure if Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham's Premier League clash with Chelsea after limping off in the 2-2 draw with Rennes on Thursday.

    Tottenham hit back through Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg's deft finish to claim a point in their opening Europa Conference League group match after Flavien Tait and Gaetan Laborde had struck to cancel out an early Loic Bade own goal.

    The draw at Roazhon Park came at a cost for Nuno, however, as Bergwijn hobbled off in the first half with an ankle problem and Lucas was replaced before the hour after being caught by a strong challenge from Tait.

    Spurs are already without Son Heung-min due to an injury sustained on international duty last week, while Eric Dier is also sidelined and a trio of South American players – Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez – are in quarantine.

    With a huge home match against London rivals Chelsea up next in three days' time, Nuno has been left to rue his side's growing list of absentees. 

    "It's been terrible, I must be honest," he said at his post-match news conference. "Let's not hide behind anything.  After the Watford game, everything that has happened has not been very good for us. 

    "But this is football. And we know it’s a moment we have to overcome. Today, we tried to show the players solutions, thinking about the game on Sunday. But it's about overcoming obstacles. That will make us stronger for the future, for sure."

    Asked if either of the pair will be ready to take on Chelsea, Nuno said: "It's too early to say. The physios are working with them." 

    Star striker Harry Kane played just under an hour of the Rennes match and had only one shot in total – albeit an improvement on the zero attempts and zero touches in the opposition box managed against Crystal Palace last Saturday.

    Kane was one of four players to retain his place in the side from that 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park as Spurs battled to a share of the spoils in their Group G opener at a raucous Roazhon Park.

    Tottenham took the lead when Bade turned Lucas' cross into his own net, but Tait curled an impressive equaliser past Pierluigi Gollini and the Spurs keeper could only push Kamaldeen Sulemana's shot into the path of Laborde for Rennes' second.

    Substitute Hojbjerg rescued a point, however, and Nuno was pleased with the overall display to take a point back to north London in what was his side's toughest fixture on paper, with Vitesse and Slovenian side Mura also in the pool.

    "We scored then we lost control," Nuno said. "We played a good team who caused some problems. It is hard to judge the game, but I think we finished well against a hard team to play against. 

    "But the attitude was good and with a lot of players playing out of position it is hard to properly judge."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.