Scottish clubs will be banned from heading balls in training the day before or after matches

Scottish clubs will be BANNED from heading balls in training the day before or after matches – and limited to just one such practice a week – in a new push to prevent players suffering brain injuries

  • The Scottish Football Association will release the new guidelines to clubs this week
  • They will be told to limit the course exercise in training to just one session a week
  • Heading exercises will be prohibited the day before or the day after a match
  • It is part of a new push to prevent football players from suffering serious head injuries
  • 2019 study found that ex-professionals are 3.5 times more likely to die from dementia

Scottish clubs will be asked to limit training sessions to once a week under new guidelines issued by the SFA.

And exercises that may involve repeated heading, such as crossing and finishing, will also be banned from training the day before or after a match.

The radical guidelines will be issued to clubs this week in a fresh boost to ensure player safety following research linking repeated heading of the ball to serious head injuries and neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

In 2019, a field study led by the University of Glasgow provided alarming evidence of the impact a career in professional football has on the health of ex-players.

Ex-pros are three and a half times more likely to die from dementia than people in the same age group in the general population.

Soccer players in Scotland will be limited to just one heading training session a week – and not the day before or after matches – in a new bid to prevent professionals suffering brain injuries

The Scottish Football Association will release the new guidance for going to clubs this week

The Scottish Football Association will release the new guidance for going to clubs this week

The SFA has since been at the forefront of introducing heading restrictions, with guidelines issued for six to 17-year-olds in 2020.

Scotland was also the first country to have a recommended set of concussion protocols, via the ‘If In Doubt, Sit them Out’ campaign.

Although there was no evidence in the field study to suggest that heading the ball definitively caused brain disease, the governing body – in partnership with the Hampden Sports Clinic – has carried out new research across professional men’s and women’s matches and consulted with the PFA Scotland and the trainers’ and the Managers’ Association.

Surveys show that managers and coaches support new restrictions on courses – even if it affects training sessions before matches. Members of PFA Scotland are also believed to have supported new measures.

The issue of concussion through head injuries in football returned to the fore at the Qatar World Cup when Iran’s first-choice goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was ruled out of Iran’s win over Wales.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand played on after a clash with a team-mate during the opening World Cup match against England

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand played on after a clash with a team-mate during the opening World Cup match against England

The decision to allow Beiranvand to play on was condemned by brain injury charities

The decision to allow Beiranvand to play on was condemned by brain injury charities

Beiranvand required several minutes of treatment after crashing into teammate Majid Hosseini in the country’s 6-2 defeat by England.

Despite IFAB guidelines stating that any player suspected of concussion should be protected by being removed from the game, the goalkeeper was allowed to continue before eventually leaving the pitch on a stretcher.

Brain injury charity Headway said it was “an absolute disgrace” that Beiranvand had been allowed to play.

The Iranian FA finally accepted the inevitable after FIFA told them in the strongest terms that they had to follow protocols.

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