World football’s rule-making body has given the go-ahead to trials for concussion substitutes which could take place at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The International Football Association Board (Ifab), at its annual general meeting in Belfast on Saturday, said more research was needed before a permanent change was made to the laws of the game.
Officials, in a statement issued after the meeting, paved the way for trials, with football one of several sports increasingly concerned by the impact of head injuries.
Concussion substitutes, be they temporary or permanent, are already a feature of rugby union and some within football have called for permanent concussion substitutes.
The current assessment time allowed for concussion in a major football match is three minutes, but there have been calls for this to be extended to 10 minutes.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who attended the Ifab meeting, said: “If there is any doubt you have to keep the player out, and for the coach to have another possibility, he knows there is an additional substitution.
“Often, we were criticised for being slow (on concussion). Now, we move, we try, and then we’ll see.”
But Peter McCabe, the chief executive of brain injury charity Headway, insisted that “nothing will actually change for the injured player”.
“Three minutes is simply not long enough to give medics a suitable window to diagnose concussion – a position that other sports, such as rugby, have quickly come to realise,” he said.
Ifab also indicated a possible change to the offside law, which has come under renewed scrutiny in English football, in particular as a result of goals being disallowed following hairline decisions by the video assistant referee. – AFP