Children under 12 should not be heading footballs during training sessions, the Scottish FA has said.

New guideliness coming into force today also recommend that headers should be restricted for teenagers up to the age of 17.

It follows a landmark Glasgow University study which for the first time proved a conclusive link between football and dementia.

While the study did not specifically draw a link between headers and neurological disease, it has been identified as a possible risk factor and the SFA has said it has a "duty of care" to young players.

Dr Willie Stewart, who led the Glasgow study, welcomed the guidelines but has called for a mandatory ban on children heading footballs and said the practice should also be restricted in the adult game.

The updated guidelines take effect immediately but do not recommend an end to headers during matches.

The Glasgow University study, published in October last year, found that former professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease and five times more likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease.

The Glasgow Catholic Schools Football Association is understood to have already implemented a ban on children under 12 heading balls during training sessions.

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The guidelines state that heading should not be introduced in training sessions from the age of six through to 11 and shouls be considered 'low priority' from 12 to 15 years.

The practice should also be limited to one session of no more than five headers per week at 13 years, increasing to 10 headers per session at 14 and 15.

Coaches are also encouraged to promote a style of play that limits long passing.

Heading burden will remain restricted to one training session per week for 16 and 17 year olds and coaches should be mindful of limiting repetitions during that session.

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Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “While it is important to re-emphasise there is no research to suggest that heading in younger age groups was a contributory factor in the findings of the FIELD study into professional footballers, nevertheless Scottish football has a duty of care to young people, their parents and those responsible for their wellbeing throughout youth football.

“The updated guidelines are designed to help coaches remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football in the earliest years, with a phased introduction at an age group considered most appropriate by our medical experts.

“It is important to reassure that heading is rare in youth football matches but we are clear that the guidelines should mitigate any potential risks."

The FA in England have also updated their guidelines but stopped short of introducing an outright ban.