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Ellon Meadows to hold talks on heading ban

By Sean McAngus

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Ellon Meadows chairman Alan MacDonald says that the club will look properly into the Scottish Youth Football Association’s calls to ban heading in training and games for under 11’s.

This comes after youth football authorities wrote to members last week about the recommendation for footballers under 11 not to head the ball in training and it should be eliminated from games “as far as possible”.

He insists that the safety of all children at the club is his priority.

The chairman wants to fully discuss the advice and information at the club’s next committee meeting.

He said: “We do follow advice from government bodies and in light of recent media coverage of claims of dementia it is something we take really seriously.

“Whilst at the end of the day our first and foremost responsible is the safety of the kids.

“We will ask coaches at the next committee meeting.

" If the SFA say don’t do the heading drill we will look at this advice very closely and go with it.”

He highlighted that the game in Scotland has changed with youngsters being encouraged to keep the ball on the ground more.

He added: “At under 11’s there is not much emphasise on heading even before SFA came out about it.

“Going through the development side whether they lag behind is a matter of opinion because you can start with heading afterwards.

“We will follow the lead with that ban.

“As a club safety is the most important thing.

“It will be really likely we will be hearing more advice soon.

“At the next committee meeting we will be discussing.

"If there is medical advice to back up what the SYFA and SFA have said then we will go with it.”

The SYFA states that, while there is “not yet a definitive link between heading the ball and brain injury”, the advice has been drawn up as “a precaution”.

National secretary Florence Witherow said: “The SYFA has previously recommended against training drills that encourage repetitive heading of the ball.

“However, in light of Dr Willie Stewart’s recent study, we have updated and strengthened the advice to our clubs.

“Any drills which involve heading the ball should be removed from all training sessions for age groups up to, and including, under 11s (7 v 7 teams).

“As far as possible, heading the ball during games at this age group should also be avoided.”

SYFA willhold further discussions with Dr Stewart and work closely with the Scottish FA.

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