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New heading rules for grassroots football youth matches

In 2022, we became the first national association to successfully adopt the International Football Association Board (IFAB) trial to remove deliberate heading in grassroots football matches at U12 level and below.

We first introduced the IFAB trial in England following our steps to bring in heading guidance in youth football in 2020, and then the implementation of heading guidance in training across every level of the professional and amateur game in 2021.

After two seasons of the IFAB trial in English football, we will now introduce a new rule to phase out deliberate heading in matches in all affiliated grassroots youth football between U7-U11 level over the next three seasons. This includes all leagues, clubs and any affiliated school football matches – starting with U7-U9 level from the 2024-25 season, then increasing to include U10 level from 2025-26, and U11 level from 2026-27.

From the start of the 2024/25 season for U7-U9 teams, we will be rolling out deliberate header restarts, touchline restarts and removing sanctions in the event of a deliberate header in a match.

To read the full statement and learn how the rule will be implemented, click here.

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