NCYFL have signed up for the FA trial but only for U7-U10. U11’s and U12’s will continue as they would normally. Guidance will be provided for managers, players, those who officiate games and spectators. The FA will also want feedback on the experience from all those involved.

Why are they doing the trial? This is to align the game experience with training where heading the ball has already ceased. Player Welfare, this is to mitigate any risk that might be linked to heading the ball.

What are the law changes?

  • Deliberately heading the ball is an offence punishable by an indirect free kick. This will also mean the introduction of indirect free-kicks within mini-soccer for this circumstance. The indirect free kick is taken at the point where the ball was deliberately headed, except: Where a player deliberately heads the ball within their own penalty area, the referee will stop the game and restart with an indirect free-kick to the opposition from the nearest side line of the penalty area where the offence took place.
  • Red / Yellow cards
    • Yellow awarded if the deliberate heading is persistent, or the action interferes with a promising attack.
    • Red awarded if it the deliberate heading denies a goal or obvious goal scoring opportunity.

What is a deliberate header?

  • A deliberate header / heading will usually involve a player moving their head and / or body towards the ball and / or into the path of the ball.
  • When judging whether a header is deliberate account should be taken as to whether the player had time / opportunity to avoid the ball. This will be influenced by the speed of the ball and the distance between the player and another player who is playing a ball or where the ball is a rebound off the goal posts / crossbar.