October 16 – Concussion substitutes will be discussed next week by football’s law-making body to mirror the success of similar changes in Rugby Union in an attempt to improve player safety.
The football advisory panel and technical advisory panel of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) will meet in Zurich on October 23.
The agenda for the meeting has been released and includes the “assessment and management” of concussion.
The advisory meeting seems likely to address the idea of extending the current three-minute check for a suspected concussion to a mandatory 10-minute test, potentially allowing for a temporary substitute.
FIFPro medical head Vincent Gouttebarge told Reuters at a player health conference at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium that any rule changes were still some way off.
“I spoke to the IFAB yesterday in preparation of this meeting…and they said that obviously their ambition is to have a kind of working group in the next weeks and months,” said Gouttebarge.
“For next Wednesday expectations are not too high, we are going to discuss different scenarios, I guess.
“Changing the laws of the game for concussion assessment is legitimate but also complicated. And it does not happen in one meeting or even in two meetings. We don’t have to be naïve that such a huge agenda point will be resolved in a couple of weeks.”
“Nowadays you just have three minutes and it’s why you see very bad decisions and players who are cleared and go back and need to be substituted again,” said Gouttebarge.
The issue was rekindled on Sunday when Wales midfielder Daniel James appeared to be knocked unconscious during the first half of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.
His manager Ryan Giggs claimed the player was not concussed and was just being “streetwise”, comments which were criticised by brain injury charity Headway.
Its chief executive Peter McCabe said on Monday: “Like most people watching the footage of the incident, our immediate concern was for the player’s health.
“As soon as the incident occurred, he was attended to by the medics who then determined that he was fit to continue.
“Although it is argued that concussion protocols were followed, the rules state that if a concussion is suspected a player must be removed from the game.”
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