English football has introduced a new heading rule for the upcoming 2021/22 season that will see players limited to 10 “higher-force” headers in training per week.
The announcement — that will be implemented across all professional levels of football in the U.K. — comes after a series of studies found that repeated heading could lead to dementia and other long-term diseases, while a 2018 study by the University of British Columbia found that blood levels of proteins associated with damage to nerve cells increase after heading the ball.
The new rules, delivered in a joint statement from the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association, advises that “a maximum of 10 higher-force headers are carried out in any training week. These are typically headers following a long pass (more than 35 metres) or from crosses, corners and free-kicks”.
The statement also said that “the majority of headers involve low forces”, although the announcement will likely require clubs to heavily alter training routines for the coming season.