FAI keeping options open as ot...
Soccer

FAI keeping options open as other associations ban under-12s from heading

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

18:40 24 Feb 2020

The FAI say they will continue to assess developments regarding some associations' ban on children heading the ball.

The Football Associations in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland have all banned children all under-12 from heading in training.

An FAI statement says they are "in discussions with UEFA" and those associations regarding the effects on children heading footballs.

A UK study showed former footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease than age-matched members of the general population.

Interim FAI Deputy CEO Niall Quinn said, "The health and safety of our schoolboys and schoolgirls is paramount and we note the decision taken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England to ban heading in training for all players up to 12-years of age."

The statement in full reads:

The Football Association of Ireland is in discussions with UEFA and with the Associations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England regarding the effects on children from heading footballs and will monitor the effect of the new ruling in the UK.

FAI Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn said: “We are in communication with the football authorities in the UK and with UEFA on this issue. The health and safety of our schoolboys and schoolgirls is paramount and we note the decision taken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England to ban heading in training for all players up to 12-years of age.

“Our underage players already play with a lighter ball depending on their age and we will continue to assess developments across Europe on an ongoing basis in relation to this issue.”

As part of the Player Development Plan launched in 2015, children in Ireland play with footballs which are weighted dependent on their age. Up to under-8s, players play with a size-5 ball weighing 290-grams.

A size-5 ball weighing 320-grams is used from under-9s to under-11s, a size-5 ball weighing 370-grams is in use up to under-14s, with players from under-15s up using a size-5 ball weighing 450-grams.

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