A ban on children directing the ball to Scotland could be put in place in a matter of weeks due to fears about the links between football and dementia.
BBC Scotland has learned that Scottish FA wants to pave the way after a report found that ex-players are at greater risk of dying from disease.
The governing body is expected to announce a ban for minors under 12 who direct the ball in training later this month.
A similar ban has been in effect in the United States since 2015.
But Scotland would become the first European country to impose a restriction on head contact.
Discussions have been ongoing since the release of a study in October that found the first links between ex-players and degenerative brain diseases.
Scottish FA doctor John MacLean was part of the team, which showed that former players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia.
There is no reliable evidence linking the directing of the ball to the disease, but dr. MacLean believes that limiting head contact is common sense.
He said, “We can’t wait for evidence one way or another on the route.
“At the moment we have to take some practical and sensible steps, and most of it will be trying to reduce this overall burden, the overall times that young players have to face – and the training phase is much more common than in games.
“The study was never designed for, and was unable to identify, why. But I think most people would say, pragmatically, that it would be a head injury or a route, whatever combination it would be in.”
Gordon Smith, a former SFA CEO, welcomed the proposed ban and told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland program that young players could still teach course techniques safely if they used lighter balls.
“We should use plastic balls so that young players can get the technique without having to guide the ball,” he said. “They will be told that the title is part of the game as they pass, but they should not direct the big balls immediately.
“They are better [off] using a softball so that they actually develop the technique, but have no effect on them for the next few days. “
‘We have a responsibility to our players’
Glasgow’s largest youth football team welcomed the SFA proposals three months after their change of policy.
The Giffnock Soccer Center has banned running through its smaller teams up to and including 7 teams.
Club president Craig Inglis said, “As a community club, we are the parents first and we train second. In light of the medical evidence available, we have felt responsibility for safeguarding the future health of our younger players.
“Although some of the ongoing scientific studies have not yet been reported, there is growing consensus among the medical community that directing football contributes to players who develop dementia and other brain conditions later in life.
“We have a responsibility to our players and would prefer to give families a clear direction on this issue. Our football development work focuses on building skills with your feet” on the bridge “and this is what we will focus on.” .
The move by the SFA to ban under-12 rubric balls will pose questions to national associations around the world when plans come true.
It will also be a relief for dr. Willie Stewart, who led the study that found the link first.
He said, “I am happy. I think while there have been many unanswered questions in our relationship, I think the only thing that has come up is that football has to change in some way.
“We can’t keep looking at a three and a half times higher risk of neurogenerative disease in footballers and not do something about it, so it’s fantastic.”
“Leader of the rest of football”
It is also seen as a progressive move by those who have played the game.
Former Wales, Arsenal and Celtic striker John Hartson says that Scottish FA should be applauded for paving the way for something that seems obvious.
He said: “The head has been a huge part of my game. The managers bought me because I could direct the ball.
“There have been some serious situations where players have lost their lives and ex-legends suffering from dementia, so I’m glad that the SFA is leading the rest of the football and doing something about it.”
The ban will likely be confirmed by the Scottish FA in the coming weeks when all interested parties have joined the plan.