MLS players’ union says FIFA and IFAB has failed players again on concussion protocols

February 27 – The union representing scores of Major League Soccer players in the United States has criticised FIFA as well as the game’s law-making body for being “short-sighted and misguided” in refusing to allow trials of temporary concussion substitutes.

The International Football Association Board said last month that no consensus had been reached to trial the idea in the MLS and England’s Premier League.

FIFA has half the eight votes in IFAB and the Major League Soccer Players Association said in a statement: “FIFA and IFAB’s shortsighted, misguided decision demonstrates once again their failure to prioritise player health and safety in our sport.”

“Their refusal to act provides yet another example of global soccer’s broken governance structure.”

The union maintained current rules “do not provide sufficient time for the proper assessment of players for potential concussions.”

“Players too often remain in games with head injuries. Medical professionals also agree that the solution to this problem is to provide for temporary concussion substitutes to allow players to be properly evaluated.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber says the league is powerless to act without IFAB approval but the union disagreed, saying the idea should be adopted unilaterally to protect players’ health domestically.

“The league’s lack of courage leaves us with an outdated model that fails to protect players from further injury and allows tradition to triumph over science,” the statement added.

“It is incumbent upon federations and leagues such as the USSF and MLS to choose for themselves that the time for change is now. Instead, FIFA, IFAB, the USSF and MLS are knowingly putting players at substantial risk. They each deserve to be held accountable.”

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