Players competing to head the ball

Heading - Changes to youth football

Heading in U7-U11 youth grassroots football matches to be phased out over the next three seasons following IFAB trial

In 2022, we became the first national association to successfully adopt the International Football Association Board (IFAB) trial to remove deliberate heading in grassroots football matches at U12 level and below.

We first introduced the IFAB trial in England following our steps to bring in heading guidance in youth football in 2020, and then the implementation of heading guidance in training across every level of the professional and amateur game in 2021.

After two seasons of the IFAB trial in English football, we will now introduce a new rule to phase out deliberate heading in matches in all affiliated grassroots youth football between U7-U11 level over the next three seasons. This includes all leagues, clubs and any affiliated school football matches – starting with U7-U9 level from the 2024-25 season, then increasing to include U10 level from 2025-26, and U11 level from 2026-27.

From the start of the 2024/25 season for U7-U9 teams, we will be rolling out deliberate header restarts, touchline restarts and removing sanctions in the event of a deliberate header in a match.

To read the full statement and learn how the rule will be implemented, click below:

Read statement

Player heading the ball

Coaches Resources

To support coaches with what to do when kids can/can't head the ball during matches,
please click the links below:


 When heading is allowed

Read Statement

When heading is not allowed 

Read Statement


  Updated Mini-Soccer Handbook

This new handbook includes the laws of the game for mini-soccer and the new changes for heading.

Download Handbook

                                                                                                 Additional Resources

For further information on the deliberate header restart law in youth football and an introduction to the new touchline restarts, see the resources below:

        England Football screenshot of FA Video 'Heading in youth football'                                                                                                                        Introducing pass-ins and dribble-ins

       Video: Law change explained                                                                                                   Video: 'pass-in' and 'dribble-in' demonstration   

WATCH VIDEO                                                                                                             Watch Video