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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.”

Four inductees enter Football Australia Hall of Fame

The national governing body for the sport has inducted four legends of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Football Australia has inducted four legends of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifier in Melbourne on Thursday.

Commonwealth Bank Matildas greats Kate Gill and Heather Garriock, Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph (Joe) Huxley Honeysett – a name synonymous with the establishment of football in Tasmania – were inducted into the esteemed list of Australian football contributors.

Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett were able to be inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame via a public process, with the nominees then considered by a panel of Australian football historians.

The panel of historians provided their recommendations to the Football Australia Board, with Football Australia’s Directors subsequently ratifying each person’s elevation into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Football Australia Chair Chris Nikou was honoured to induct Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph Huxley Honeysett into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the match.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame celebrates legends, and the people behind the legends, in our game,” Nikou said.

“Through their respective inductions into the Football Australia Hall of Fame – Kate, Heather, Mark, and Joe will forever be recognised as greats of Australian football – people that on and off the pitch showed their class and toiled for the sport to reach new heights.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson sees the Football Australia Hall of Fame, launched in 1999 when the first inductions were made, as a list of great Australian football people.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame features many icons of our sport – people that have represented Australia with aplomb domestically and internationally, have fought for the advancement of our sport, and have laid the foundations for future generations to grow the world game on Australian soil,” Johnson said.

“We warmly congratulate Joe, Mark, Heather, and Kate on their respective inductions – all are worthy of their position amongst the game’s greats, and I hope Mark, Heather, and Kate take great pride in their acknowledgement. Equally, I trust that Joe, who is being acknowledged posthumously, would have been thrilled to be inducted. The Huxley Honeysett name is now forever inscribed in Australian football’s history.”

The inductions of Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett mark the first additions to the Football Australia Hall of Fame since Harry Kewell, Leigh Wardell, Branko Culina, and Sir Frank Lowy in 2019.

Despite the recent induction occurring in 2022, the quartet enter the Hall of Fame as 2021 inductees.

Another process will be held throughout 2022, as Football Australia seeks to recognise more people that have made an immense contribution to the Australian game.

Acun Medya Group secures Hull City takeover

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, headed by Acun Ilicali.

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, for a fee in the reported region of $37 million AUD.

Acun Ilicali, a 52-year-old businessman and owner of Acun Medya Group, was introduced to fans at the MKM Stadium prior to the club’s 2-0 win at home over Blackburn Rovers.

The takeover brings the controversial ownership of the Allam family to an end, much to the delight of fans after a roller coaster 11 years in charge.

Despite overseeing two promotions to the Premier League, an FA Cup Final and Hull’s first-ever foray into a European competition through the UEFA Europa League in 2014, the Allam family became increasingly unpopular with the fans.

The unpopularity of the Allam family is due to many different reasons, however it all started when the family proposed a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ back in 2013. The move was ultimately blocked by authorities a year later, which frustrated the Allams and they then put the club up for sale, straining the relationship with fans and seeing a decline in attendances at home fixtures.

The new ownership will look to win back supporters and turn the negative tide.

Acun Medya Group Owner, Acun Ilicali:

“I am happy that I have fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. We are starting a beautiful journey with Hull City. We have many big dreams and goals to achieve together with our fans,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chairman Ehab Allam:

“During our tenure, we have worked hard to create a sustainable model and successful academy set-up, giving the club the foundations it needs for the future,” he said.

“There have been lots of ups and downs over the last 11 years or so, but we will take some very fond memories with us… We have taken a very business-led approach to running the club and I truly hope Acun can rebuild the relationship with the fanbase and also bring back the success on the pitch that fans crave and deserve.”

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