FIFA has reportedly blocked a trial for temporary substitutions for players that have suffered a head injury. The world’s governing body of the sport was previously approached by multiple soccer leagues on the issue. However, The Times is claiming that FIFA has now rejected the concept.
According to the British news outlet, officials from the Premier League, France’s Ligue 1, and Major League Soccer asked FIFA for the trial. The idea was to allow teams a temporary substitution while head injuries could be examined.
Rule would allow 10-minute player exams during games
Under the proposal, club doctors would receive 10 minutes to fully inspect a possible head injury. Clubs would be able to bring on a temporary substitute during this timeframe. The doctors would then determine whether or not the injury player can continue after the examination. A similar rule is currently in place European rugby leagues.
Professor James Calder, an orthopedic surgeon, told the aforementioned news outlet that FIFA made the wrong call. “The Premier League has suggested that there are two assessments and that you trial both systems and see what happens, and that would seem a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” claimed Calder.
“I think it would give some answers and information. Being a scientist, I think that the best approach would be to trial both and see which one works better.”
FIFA has instead insisted that permanent substitutions are the safest option for players. The Premier League currently has permanent concussion substitutions in place. This means that players determined to have suffered head injuries can’t reenter matches.
Teams may take advantage of head injury substitutions
Nevertheless, there are concerns around the sport that the current rules may not be as safe as FIFA believes. There are worries that club doctors are less willing to remove key players for remainder of matches without the possibility of them returning to the pitch. This occurred during the World Cup in Qatar. Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand remained in a game despite visual effects from a head injury.
The Premier League claims that significant head injuries are down in the rugby leagues with the temporary substitutions. Further research in France suggests that 53% of players suffering concussions during matches remained on the pitch. There is a suggestion that over 600,000 sports-related concussions occur in the United Kingdom every year.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Pictures
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