Premier League clubs have been warned the concussion substitute trials “do not go far enough.”
Clubs will be allowed an extra two subs from this weekend to help with head injuries after being given the green light by law makers IFAB.
The 20 top flight clubs have been given a presentation this week about concussion subs and how they will be used as the Prem becomes the first league to start the trial.
But the IFAB plan is to make them permanent substitutes and campaigners insist that is the wrong option and temporary replacements would allow players to be assessed for concussion.
It comes after pressure on football to tackle concussion amid a string of recent incidents, including Wolves striker Raul Jimenez suffering a fractured skull in a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz who played on despite a head wound.
Sports lawyer Ipek Tugcu, senior associate at Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “Something is better than nothing, but these changes don’t go far enough.
“As a brain injury lawyer, I warmly welcome all efforts to protect players from harm but I’m sceptical about whether this really will improve anything.
“Concussion substitutes are one of a number of subtle but significant proposed changes to football – all aimed at minimising the risk of brain injuries whilst preserving the authenticity of the sport.
“The current problem is that injured players aren’t being substituted to be properly assessed, mainly for strategic reasons – players want to keep playing and managers are thinking about team tactics and the number of substitutions left.
“You only have to look at what happened with David Luiz following his clash with Jimenez to see that, sadly, health often comes second place.
“Temporary concussion substitutes, heavily favoured by most experts and campaigners, would achieve this. It would allow a player with a suspected injury to briefly be taken off the pitch for a head injury assessment, away from the match.
“Doctors would get the necessary time and privacy to consider whether the player was fit to return to play.”
Prem bosses insist that this is still at a trial stage – starting from Aston Villa against Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime – and therefore it could be changed further down the line.