The English, Scottish and Northern Irish football associations have all come together to introduce a ban on children heading footballs in training, with a sliding scale covering the various ball-to-head situations of all school age children from from six to 17.
The guidelines [PDF] say that all primary kids up to the age of 11 should basically never hit the ball with their heads on purpose in lessons, so it'll still be OK if the bad child from the weird family hoofs it into someone's face by "accident" or it's done in an important match with the kids from down the road in different colour jumpers. Coaches will be asked to focus more on "dribbling, passing and combination play"and have been told to encourage the taking of short corners and free kicks rather than the traditional smashing of it in. If eight year olds ever smash anything into anywhere.
From the age of 12 the rules soften, altering to saying that heading should be a "low priority" that ought still be best avoided, although coaches are allowed to start if deemed "absolutely necessary" ahead of a crunch clash with the brutes of Goodleigh Church of England Primary School, when every marginal gain is needed to make up for last year's shameful 14-9 drubbing. Even then, it's so complicated football is probably best avoided altogether now, as the guidelines make it sound like a nightmare for all PE teachers to manage, explaining: "...we would strongly advise a maximum of one session per month, with lightweight balls, maximum repetition of five headers per session, using self-serves or short distance serves."
Might be easier to bin football altogether and pivot to being a nation of table tennis experts, bravely failing at various quarter finals. [Scottish FA]