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, reducing from a size 4 to size 3 for under 10’s. Under 11’s can play with size 4.
•No changes to heading in matches, taking into consideration the limited number of headers in youth games