New rules mean Arsenal will have to restrict heading the ball

As Arsenal up their preparations for the new campaign they will have to do so by heading the ball less.

While reviews from MPs of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport continue all professional clubs have been ordered to restrict players to no more than 10 high force headers a week.

A high force header qualifies as any arial pass from more than 35 metres and any ball intended to be attacked.

Amateur teams have been told that only one session a week should be dedicated to practising heading a ball.

Primary school children are banned from heading a ball at all.

Set pieces are a huge part of the sport, something in the last decade the likes of Bolton and Stoke used as their main source of goals.

Preventing how much time can be spent working on corners and free kicks and obviously children growing up avoiding the skill altogether, could change what the future of the game looks like.

That’s of course not as important as a person’s life.

Campaigners feel that these sanctions are long overdue.

These are individuals who lost loved ones or who have or are witnessing friends and relatives suffer with Dementia.

For years Dawn Astley pleaded with football to do more to protect players.

That was after a coroner’s report linked her father’s death to years of heading a ball at West Brom. Trauma on his brain was compared to that of those who got injured due to boxing.

Chris Sutton watched his dad die of Dementia caused by heading a football.

Out of England’s 1966 World Cup squad 5 would be diagnosed with dementia, others suffered other forms of memory loss.

1872 was the year FA implemented standard equipment, but it wasn’t till 1982 anything changed.

So the World Cup winners were using the same leather ball that the sport began with – a rubber inflatable bladder encased in brown leather

This led to experts like Dr Willie Stewart researching medical records of 7,676 pros between 1900 – 1976.

Results showed that an ex-footballer is 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia then the general public.

For those who suffered it’s a little too late for football to act now but if one person can be saved from a tragedy then it’s worth it.

It’s a myth that a football was lighter in previous eras.

The standard weight has always been 14-16 oz or 410-460g.

The difference now is footballs are designed to not absorb water.

1982 was the last time natural leather was used while from 2004 thanks to Adidas footballs became thermally bonded.

Yet enough scientists and doctors clearly feel there is only a certain amount of time a head should be smashing against 460 g/16oz, depending on age.

With any CTE disease, effects of repeated head trauma are not apparent till many years later.

Hence why it’s hard to exactly say if footballs are not as heavy now that they designed for all weathers, they will strongly reduce those numbers.

You assume they would, but by how many?

One person’s death because of heading a ball is too many.

If the game has to adapt, then it’s a small price to pay

Football is a beautiful game but it’s just that …. a game


Be kind in the comments



  1. It’s okay if they limit the headers in training sessions only, but MMA and boxing should’ve been banned first. Look at what happened to Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Chris Benoit

    Aside from contact sports, cigarettes, liquor and coffee should also be banned for causing dementia

    1. Chris Benoit was an actor who lost his head because of roid rage nothing to do with the fake punches they throw at each other .
      And coffee definitely does not give you dementia and would imagine the others you said don’t also ,no study’s can determine that ,I would imagine that the conclusion would always say there is a higher chance say if you smoked .
      MMA and boxers choose to do their sports they are not forced ,and someone who watches a lot of MMA you a might want to read up it before saying it should be banned .

      1. According to The Sports Legacy Institute, Chris Benoit had CTE because of numerous brain injuries:

        My father was a heavy coffee drinker and smoker, a bad habit that most likely causes light dementia symptoms at 76 years old. This is an article about it, based on the research of the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute:

        I agree that nobody forced those MMA fighters and boxers fight in the ring, but there are too many deaths due to injuries sustained in boxing

        1. First time I am hearing about coffee link to dementia. Naturally I don’t believe it coming from black coffee drinking culture and never heard anyone suffered from dementia. It is worth looking it up though and watch the development of the study.

          1. I just follow Jack LaLanne’s diet, which excludes coffee. He’s proven to have lived cancer-free and without dementia till he died

          2. @GAI

            Thank you for sharing. A quick read on him is intriguing. Will read further on him.

  2. so lets get this right you are a player and you have done all the forced headers you are allowed during a week and the ball is crossed in on goal and you are the only defender that can header it away ! you have to leave it to go to the opponents to score !! how is that going to work out for the teams that lose games because of it ???? if this is allowed to go through then it will force teams to leave and start up a league where these rules will never apply !! all i can say is this hasnt been thought through very well !! might as well play with the soft beach balls that you play with on the beach!! ridiculous totally ridiculous !!the number of players out there that have headed the ball week in week out is millions and only a few have possible brain damage through it !! its like when they tried to stop boxing because the boxer get hit in the face and head !! you cannot stop headering because a player has to head the ball like you cannot stop a boxer from punching to the head as he has to punch to the head !! just let people have the choice if they want to or not !! it is that simple !! stop trying to control everyone !! if they do not want to header the ball do not get into football if they do not want to get hit in the head do not take up boxing !! in rugby the scrum in the most dangerous part of the game but you do not see them trying to stop the scrum !! whatever next stop people running 100m etc as it might cause injury to ankles etc or martial arts for the same reason !! the benefits of doing excercise and sports far out way the dangers of not doing them !! stop with this rubbish of nanny state BS !!

    1. lol Carl – the limit is for training only. In any case it wouldnt affect us because none of our guys are capable of connecting with their heads

    1. Pepe and Willock, young players improving with time, physical development and experience; they are looking good. A season on and opportunities make a lot of difference.

  3. The rules as I understand it are for training purposes not in the game. How could you enforce how many headers a player does in the game.
    A small concern I have is without practicing headers could players injure themselves by not having the correct technic?

  4. What next? Extended winter break? No year-end fixtures when teams gotta play on Boxing day and a further two games within a week?

  5. Yes GunneRay – we would appear still to have many problems.

    Before starting, I of course know we are only in pre-season and the transfer window remains open.

    However, I’m coming at this from a different angle.

    I am not wanting to jump on any of the numerous “bandwagons” you care to mention, but am genially very concerned.

    My worries concern the IDENTITY of our current side / squad.

    Why ?

    The LOOK, FEEL, ATTITUDE, APPROACH, and yes IDENTITY seems to have not changed one iota in spite of all the tub thumping, sabre rattling and promises made come the end of last season .

    How can I be writing the above when the window remains open until month end, and the season is yet to lick off ?

    1) I don’t like bring in buys after the season has kicked off, with the whole window now almost behind us.

    I am almost reduced now to “take what we can get” to get same of the same old same old off the books. After all we will simply NOT shift them at the prices we are asking … fair or not I’m afraid.

    Easy way out, keep them – and once again ….. nothing changes !

    But mainly ;

    2) I have a deep concern that whoever we bring in they end up being “ARSENALISED” – nothing changes.

    M A clearly has complete devotion to his vision for us and they way the team is to play … but you have to have the tools to do so. – IT IS OBVIOUS WE HAVE NOT.

    Look at pre-season – 2 goals gifted to the opposition by our complete inability to master playing out from the back, starting with the keeper – this is one issue Ben White has been brought in to help.

    The aforementioned two goals gifted by players who most know should not even be at the club – same old suspects.

    I wonder going into a new season how many of us will sit there thinking ;

    They’re going to score in an minute, no matter how well we’ve started.

    A mistake costing us is just ’round the corner.

    We’re gonna lose this.

    NOTHING CHANGES – those feelings have been with us year after year.

    Year upon year promises are made and broken, tracing back to at least moving from our spiritual home to the Emirates to “compete with Europe’s best” which has turned out to be laughable at best.

    Whatever changes are made to the structure within the club at various levels, again NOTHING CHANGES !

    I’ll never forget when one of the foremost journalists visited London Colney and concluded – “Amazing facility no doubt, but does not smell of success – more of a country club health spa”.

    This impression seems to seep into our club from top to bottom- where the hell has that winning mentality gone ?

    From Bertie Mee to Mikel Arteta and all in between I consider Arsene Wenger to be our greatest ever manager (Herbert Chapman gets a shout, despite the vastly different era’s).

    However I have a soft spot for George Graham.

    This current squad would literally not know what hit the with his outlook on discipline and getting the job done.

    Was it a mixed bag under George, yes – but hullava ride.

    My favourite Graham story.

    We were overseas pre-season.

    On a day off the squad were walking by the beach, in full club suits.

    Another English side passed by in shorts , tee shirts & flip flops.

    One of the senior players approached Graham.

    ” Look at them boss, can we lighten up a little bit ?”

    “O.K.” came George’s reply “You can take your ties off ” !!!!!

    I digress.

    What do you feel has changed in relation to the FEEL of the side approaching the new season ?

    And more worryingly – what WILL change ????

    1. AJ, agree 100%. Can anybody see Rob Holding (after his comments) and Hector Bellerin, two long term Arsenal players taking Tavares aside (a new player) when at White Hart, grabbing him by the throat and saying “we don’t lose to Spurs”. This is what Ray Parlour said Tony Adams and Martin Keown did to him at his first North London Derby.
      Drive, commitment and professional pride in self, team and Club, in addition to ability is what made Arsenal successful under Mee, Graham and Wenger.

  6. I don’t buy this heading the ball dementia thing. I’m in my late 50’s at an age where a lot of the people my parents age have passed and are passing and I’m shocked at the number who have dementia and have died with it including my father in 2017. My dad didn’t play football one day in his life and neither did Jeans mum up the road…And I am sure Joe Biden don’t even know what shape a football is. And I’m not saying its not happening but I’m only hearing this in the Uk….American football anyone?

    1. Sorry, but your sample of one man does not disprove the science which is clear. There is an increased risk of dementia and other CNS disease in athletes who experience repeated head trauma during their sport.

      1. My example was not of one man but a observation of what I’ve seen in the last few years and I did not base that opinion on one person.
        Given a football used to be a lot heavier back in the day. I can’t help but feel that the data has been skewed by head injuries incurred back then. The ball is quite different now and I would like to see the stats based on players playing with the more “modern” ball. All that data is based on footballers who played in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s. There is no conclusive proof of what you state.

        1. The science is clear to those who understand how the studies work. Similar arguments were used by the tobacco industry to deny the link between lung cancer and smoking for decades.

      1. That were a kind of joke point being. he’s never played football.
        Still, you not been watching

        1. And they commented that President Ford, played American football without a helmet. Dimentia is not a joke.

    2. I see what you’re saying Wolf but only partially agree – its it bit like saying that smoking doesnt cause lung cancer because non-smokers catch it.
      I certainly think in times gone by with wet heavy leather balls risks were high. Less now but still there. I assume you’ve watched the film “Concussion”? OK in American fb they take bigger hits (wearing helmets) but the science is the same. Repeated impacts to the head are not good for you.

  7. Its always safety first, everything else next. Good that these rules and regulations are drafted, will limit the use of headers,extremely dangerous in some situations

  8. We are surely in the nanny state now.

    What happens if I want to head the ball 20 times a week. Can I be jailed? Will my name appear in the newspaper on the “Whose a Naughty Boy/Girl” Page.

    Nans and granddads have been getting dementia since the beginning of time for Christ’s sake!!!!

    How about making it illegal for Arsenal to make stupid transfers. Then I won’t have to bang my head against the wall every morning!

    What about making a real law.
    Covid 19 Vaccination Is Mandatory!!!!!!

  9. This move to limit heading- with which I agree- is the mere first step towards a longer trend that will transform how we perceive football as a contact sport.

    It is certain in the fullness of time that tackling as we know it will be outlawed and all physical contact extremely limited.

    That will, in time, radically transform the game we love and it all depends on exactly how much change comes in. But change is certainly coming and to deny that is to be ostrich like and bury your head in the sand.

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