Major League Soccer, or MLS, is still pushing for temporary substitutions for head injuries. This is despite the fact that the 2023 campaign began less than two weeks ago. The league does currently have head injury substitutions; however, they, like in the Premier League, are permanent changes.
The top flight league in the United States and Canada has asked international rules-makers to implement the temporary subs. MLS can’t make any significant rule alterations without approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The board released a statement last weekend asserting that permanent concussion substitutions will remain. FIFA has backed this decision.
League says rule change would allow sufficient testing
Nevertheless, MLS still wants to trial the temporary head injury subs. “We strongly believe in the benefits of conducting the trial and welcome the opportunity to share the data and learnings from such a trial with the global soccer community,” a statement released by MLS read on Tuesday.
“The proposed temporary concussion substitution protocol was developed with MLS’s medical advisers and would allow club medical professionals to conduct a structured off-field evaluation of players suspected of sustaining a concussion.”
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MLS players union pushing for temporary head injury substitutions
MLS Players Association reps have previously criticized IFAB for the refusal to consider temporary subs. The union claims that players often still remain in matches with concussions. “FIFA and IFAB’s shortsighted, misguided decision demonstrates once again their failure to prioritize player health and safety in our sport,” the MLS players union said at the start of the current campaign.
“Players too often remain in games with head injuries,” the statement continued. “Medical professionals also agree that the solution to this problem is to provide for temporary concussion substitutes to allow players to be properly evaluated.”
For now, MLS will continue to work to implement temporary head injury substitutions in the future. This includes teaming together alongside England’s Premier League, France’s Ligue 1 and the players union.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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