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New guidance for heading set to be introduced in English football

Heading guidelines

From the upcoming 2021/22 season, UK footballing associations will introduce heading guidance across every level of the professional and amateur game.

The new guidance will be specifically focused on training sessions where the majority of heading occurs. The guidance has been designed to meet the requirements of each level of English football, having been agreed upon by the FA, Premier League, EFL, the PFA and the LMA.

As a result, the guidance will be applied by clubs in the Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship, the National League system, the Women’s Football Pyramid Tiers 3 and below, as well as grassroots and the England national teams.

Following multiple studies undertaken in recent months on behalf of a subgroup of the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC), the changes were made priority ahead of the upcoming seasons.

The preliminary studies identified the varying forces involved in heading the ball, which were provided to a cross-football working group to help shape the guidance.

Based on those early findings, which showed the majority of headers involve low forces, the initial focus of the guidance will be on headers that involve higher forces. Headers which involve higher forces include those which follow from a long pass (more than 35 metres), cross, corners or free-kick.

It will be recommended that a maximum of 10 higher-force headers are carried out in any training week. This recommendation is provided to protect player welfare and will be reviewed regularly as further research is undertaken to understand more regarding the impact of heading in football.

England Football Association Chief Executive Officer Mark Bullingham acknowledged the importance of applying new guidelines across all of English football.

“We already have the most comprehensive guidelines in the world for youth football and now we are introducing, in partnership with the other football bodies, the most comprehensive adult football guidelines anywhere. Our heading guidance now reaches across all players, at all levels of the game,” he said.

“These measures have been developed following studies with coaches and medics and represent a cautious approach while we learn more. We are committed to further medical research to gain an understanding of any risks within football, in the meantime this reduces a potential risk factor.

“Overall, it is important to remember that the overwhelming medical evidence is that football and other sports have positive impacts on both mental and physical health.”

Graham Coe Pavilion project boosts Southern Tablelands Football Association

FNSW

Cookbundoon Pavilion has undergone the final stages of its development, with clubs hailing from the Southern Tablelands Football Association (STFA) set to benefit.

Councillors in August agreed to name the building as the Graham Coe Pavilion, in honour of his strong contribution to the sport and the formation of the STFA.

Included in the new pavilion is six change rooms, a function room, canteen, officials change rooms, public amenities, storeroom, office and an undercover veranda.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council Mayor Bob Kirk acknowledged the significance of satisfying the growth of football interest and participants in the area.

“Football is perhaps the largest sport in our region based on player numbers, and this upgrade to provide essential facilities such as change rooms for our female players was overdue,” he said.

“I am pleased to see it now completed to a high standard, and I hope to be able to officially open it soon once restrictions are eased.

“It would be great to see the facilities utilised in 2021, so I hope the STFA are able to complete their finals series as planned.”

Southern Tablelands Football Manager Craig Norris reflected that the association was excited to get underway in its use of the new pavilion.

“The addition of change rooms and in particular for our girls is huge for the sport and will be a game changer,” he said.

“Female participation in Football in our region is on the rise, with nearly a third of all our participants now being females which is fantastic.”

$572,884 was obtained for the project, through the Federal Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, with Goulburn Mulwaree Council also contributing $500,000.

Females will have access to six changerooms to use before and after games, rather than changing in cars and behind trees.

Inclusive football facilities are one of the five key infrastructure priorities from the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy. This area focuses on increasing and improving gender-neutral player and referee change rooms.

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup less than two years away, infrastructure upgrades such as this new amenity at Cookbundoon will allows Southern Tablelands to cater for the expected increase in females playing football.

Football Victoria announce 2021 refund policy

Football Victoria has announced a refund policy that will provide over $1.75 million of refunds to members across the state.

The refunds are based on a formula that take into account the 2021 Football Victoria “No Season” Refund multiplied by the percentage of rounds that were not played.

Football Victoria’s refund policy allocates refunds on both a per player and team basis, with the total refunds being returned to clubs and players totalling in excess of $1.75 million.

Player refunds will be processed via clubs.

The Football Victoria statement announcing the refund policy read:

“Most of our community will recall from both the 2020 and preliminary 2021 policies, that a cost apportionment model is used to generate the relevant refunds for each competition. It is really important to note that FV’s costs are not linear to the season, with an overwhelming proportion of the work to provide football competitions completed prior to the season’s commencement. This is reflected in the preliminary version of the 2021 Fee Refund Policy released pre-season, which contained relevant refunds for a ‘no-season scenario’.

“Based on this cost apportionment model only, no refunds would be payable at this stage of the season. However, FV is acutely aware of the financial impacts to the football ecosystem and its stakeholders. Through this updated policy, we have made a strong commitment to supporting our Clubs and players, at a time when they need it most.

“As a result, we have developed a formula, as below, to deliver funds back to both Clubs and players, to support your football journey and a return to football in 2022. We have applied cost apportionment principles, as represented through the ‘no season’ refund percentages, as well as the percentage of rounds unable to be completed for each competition.”

The announcement also confirmed that Football Victoria would be establishing principles within the Rules of Competition that are better equipped to deal with the consequences of cancelled or partially completed seasons.

“We cannot help but reflect on where our game could have been, if not for the back-to-back season interruptions in 2020 and 2021. While the 2021 season cancellations across the state didn’t come as a surprise to many, we know it doesn’t make it any easier to accept, including what this means for promotion, relegation and awarding champions,” the statement reads.

“In advance of the 2022 season, the Board is committed to ensuring the Rules of Competition reflect a clear set of principles in the event of any future interrupted or incomplete seasons.

“Many Clubs have reinforced a strong desire to play football in any format, when it is safe to do so. The call of the pitch is strong and we will be working with Clubs to provide football in all ways, at venues across the state in spring and summer. We look forward to sharing more information on this shortly when we have direction from the Victorian Government.”

You can access the refund policy HERE.

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