FIFA to test concussion substitutes at Club World Cup

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FIFA said it could reduce the pressure on medical personnel to make a quick assessment and send a strong message that “if in any doubt, the player should be withdrawn”….reports Asian Lite News

World football governing body FIFA announced on Friday that the use of concussion substitutes will be tested at the Club World Cup in Qatar in February.

According to a FIFA statement, it will “trial additional permanent substitutions for cases of actual or suspected concussion” at the seven-team tournament, which will be the first time that concussion substitutes will be allowed in an international football competition.

In the Qatar Club World Cup, scheduled to be held from February 1 to 10, a team can use one more substitute per match for players’ suspected concussion in addition to the team’s five regular substitutes, Xinhua news agency reports.

FIFA said it could reduce the pressure on medical personnel to make a quick assessment and send a strong message that “if in any doubt, the player should be withdrawn”.

The rule-making body, International Football Association Board (IFAB), had approved the use of concussion substitutes in December 2020, claiming to protect the player from a potential second blow to the head.

England’s Premier League announced later that it would allow two concussion substitutes per team in one match since the beginning of 2021. Other major European football leagues and the Chinese football league have not revealed whether they will adopt similar measures.

FIFA said teams participating in the Club World Cup are also permitted to make up to five substitutions per game rather than three — a rule brought in to protect player welfare amid COVID-19 related fixture congestion.

However, teams will only have three opportunities to make changes during the game and also at halftime.

Concussion has become an increasingly hot issue in the sport — rugby union has used head injury replacements for a while — with increasing concern over the number of former footballers who develop dementia in later life.

While rugby allows for temporary replacements, the IFAB opted for a permanent replacement to protect the player from a potential second blow to the head.

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