Premier League to demand answers from Tottenham over why they’re ignoring guidance on heading limits


Premier League will demand answers from Tottenham over why they’re not sticking to heading limits in training after Nuno Espirito Santo revealed the club are ignoring the guidance

  • Premier League will ask Tottenham why they are ignoring heading guidance
  • Professional footballers should be limited to 10 high-force headers per week
  • Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo admitted club are ignoring limits in training 
  • A ground-breaking game takes place on Sunday with heading restrictions 


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The Premier League are going to quiz Tottenham Hotspur on why they aren’t implementing heading limits in training after Nuno Espirito Santo revealed the club are ignoring the guidance.

Football’s authorities have taken a dim view of a club admitting they are not following the guidelines, which were put in place to protect players amid fears of a link to dementia.

The recommendation at the start of the season was that footballers at professional level should be limited to 10 high-force headers per week. Nuno said Tottenham are not counting headers in training and sources say they aren’t alone in snubbing the guidance.

The Premier League will demand answers after Nuno Espirito Santo admitted Tottenham are ignoring guidance on heading limits


Footballers at professional level should be limited to 10 high-force headers per week (Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg pictured)

It comes as a ground-breaking game takes place on Sunday at Spennymoor Town’s Brewery Field with heading restrictions involved. Played between former professional footballers, the first half will see heading only allowed in the box, and the second half will see no heading allowed whatsoever.

‘Player welfare is paramount and the guidance is an important component,’ the Premier League confirmed in a statement. ‘We continue to liaise with clubs and football partners on the guidance and will speak directly with the club to understand their challenges in implementing it.’

Nuno had complained about Tottenham’s defending from set-pieces this season at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s North London derby with Arsenal. Asked how they can improve at those when there are limits in place, he said: ‘That’s why we have training sessions without nobody seeing us.’

Nuno admitted that he doesn’t count how many times his players head the ball in training

Nuno admitted that he is concerned about dementia but stressed heading is part of the game

Pressed for more, Nuno continued: ‘I’m concerned with the situation of dementia and what heading the ball can cause. It’s a big concern for us but it’s part of the game. Honestly I will not lie to you. I don’t count how many times our players head the ball. Maybe I will get myself in trouble for this. But football is jumping, heading, it’s part of the game.’

Researchers will watch Sunday’s game with heading restrictions to study certain situations, such as how corners and goal kicks work when players cannot head the ball.

It is a unique experiment and one which the organisers, brain health charity Head for Change, along with the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust, hope will raise awareness for dementia in football.

There were 106 headers in the game between England and Germany at Euro 2020, three more than in the 1966 World Cup final

Despite the modern game seeming more focused on passing the ball, statistics show that heading still plays a major part. In the 1966 World Cup final, England and West Germany produced 103 headers.  

At Euro 2020, the knockout tie between the English and Germans produced even more: 106. Meanwhile, the number of ‘aerial duels’ contested during Premier League games has remained at similar figures since Opta first started collecting that data in 2012-13.

The heading limit guidelines for this season were agreed between the FA, Premier League, EFL, the PFA and LMA but is not being policed by any of those authorities.

Instead club staff and the players themselves were expected to implement the restrictions themselves, which campaigners described as impractical. High-force headers include those following a pass of more than 35 metres, crosses, corners and free-kicks.



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