Clydebank Mercury Football Club has welcomed Scottish Football Association's move towards a ban on heading in the under-12s game.

The SFA is reported to be close to imposing a ban in training, although the timescale for introducing it is unclear.

The United States has had a similar ban in place since 2015, but the SFA's move would make Scotland the first European country to impose such a restriction.

It follows the publication of a study by the University of Glasgow last year which found footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of a neurodegenerative disease than age-matched non-players.

The SFA said it would finalise the proposals "in early course".

It is understood there is consensus between the SFA board, the professional and non-professional game boards and medical representatives to recommend such a ban.

It could be in place for the grassroots season, which runs from March to November. And while Mercury are currently an under-13 set-up and thus not required to adapt to the restrictions, the club has backed the moved.

A spokesman told the Post: "In line with the ban, we have just moved into 11-a-side games where we are encouraging players to refrain from heading.

"We believe it could have a positive impact on football in Scotland, going forward.

Read more: Whitecrook factor Apex struck off for ‘not meeting minimum standards’

"Everyone wants to see fast-moving and passing football, so putting something in place to protect young players looks to be almost a two-birds-with-one-stone situation.

"Protection for players comes first, but technical improvements could be a bonus as keeping the ball on the ground at early levels will only help in the long run.

"Overall, I don't see a negative impact from the move and welcome the changes."

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokeswoman added: "West Dunbartonshire Council will continue to adhere to SFA and SYFA guidelines for football taught as part of the curriculum.

"Our sports development programmes do not coach, encourage or allow heading during football."

The SFA's move is a "positive step" according to campaigner Dawn Astle, who hopes other governing bodies follow its lead.

Astle's father, former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle, died aged 59 in 2002 from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of dementia caused by brain injury. The coroner ruled that his death had been caused by the repeated trauma of heading the ball.

She said: "It's a very positive step to reduce the risk and make sure their kids are OK. My dad's dementia started at some point, didn't it, and it's always been my belief that it manifested in my dad – although no one was aware of it – when heading footballs as a kid.

"Children's brains are more vulnerable because they're still growing."