A top executive believes the rest of the world will catch up to the United States' ban on heading in youth soccer.
The Professional Footballers’ Association has advocated the move, which would apply to all under-10s, and in January European football’s governing body UEFA said it would consider implementation if its own study provided sufficient evidence.
The US has already taken action with a ban in place since 2015. Kevin Payne, the chief executive of US Club Soccer, national association member of the United States Soccer Federation principally involved in youth football, was involved in the discussions which led to restrictions being brought in.
“While there is not a lot of direct evidence or research which draws a straight-line correlation between heading a ball at young ages and potential issues later in life we think it is a logical assumption as younger children’s technique will not be as good and their brains are not as fully developed,” he said.
“Until such time as that research has been completed and there are conclusions to be drawn we thought it was much safer to err on the side of caution. Part of the issue is that no one really knows what are the consequences of heading a ball at this young age. Until we do know the answer the only responsible course of action is to do everything possible to minimise the chance of it creating problems.
There were some individuals who were not happy about it and I am sure there are still, the old guard who think it is silly not to allow heading.”