EXCLUSIVE: FIFA under pressure to reverse stance on temporary concussion substitutes as leading research group they fund declares that current approach is ‘not in the interest of player welfare’
- The Concussion In Sport Group (CISG) will release a statement on Thursday
- It will state that it takes 10-15 minutes to properly assess a potential concussion
- FIFA prefer extra permanent concussion substitutes, which are in place
- The latest research supports the introduction of temporary ones
FIFA are under renewed pressure to reverse their stance on temporary concussion substitutes after the world’s most influential research group on head injuries – which they fund – declared their approach is harmful to footballers.
Football’s world governing body have been placed in an awkward position because they, along with other sporting organisations, financially support the Concussion In Sport Group (CISG) that meet every four years to review the latest research.
From this gathering, a Consensus Statement is produced, described as the ‘bible’ of concussion guidelines due to how it shapes protocols worldwide.
The CISG’s latest Statement is released on Thursday after the international group of experts convened in Amsterdam in October 2022 and details how it takes at least 10-15 minutes to properly assess a potential concussion.
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it says these assessments should be conducted in private, insisting: ‘Sports whose rules currently do not facilitate such evaluations should strongly consider enacting rule changes in the interest of player welfare.’
FIFA are under renewed pressure to reverse their stance on temporary concussion substitutes
In football, this would come in the form of temporary concussion substitutes. Currently, extra permanent concussion substitutes are in place, the protocol which has long been the preference of FIFA and football’s lawmakers IFAB. That is despite widespread criticism due to several incidents in which players have suffered head injuries and stayed on the pitch, only to be removed later.
The Premier League want temporary concussion substitutes to be introduced and previously asked FIFA and IFAB if they could trial it from the start of the 2023-24 season. That request was rejected, but the Premier League could ask football’s overlords to reconsider their positions in light of the CISG’s latest recommendations.
The debate surrounding how to handle concussed footballers has been raging for years, creating splits at the top of the game.
The Concussion In Sport Group has declared that the current approach is harmful to players
As well as FIFA, the CISG are also funded by the International Olympic Committee and World Rugby, among others, all of whom tend to take the lead of the Consensus Statement.
Mail Sport contacted both FIFA and IFAB for comment on Wednesday but neither responded.