Football’s lawmakers have given the green light to January trials for concussion substitutes ahead of them potentially being introduced from the start of next season.
The IFAB have concluded that player safety needs to become a priority and that a new approach to head injuries is required.
‘Additional permanent substitutes’ are set to be given the nod for players that have suffered a potential concussion with the final decision to be made at the IFAB’s annual business meeting in December.
An IFAB statement read: “The members recommended further consultation, working with the FIFA medical subdivision and other stakeholders, to facilitate trials to start from January 2021 for any competition that is interested in taking part.
“The Concussion Expert Group (CEG) again emphasised the protection of players is the main goal and that a clear and uniform approach is needed, which can operate effectively at all levels of the game.
“Therefore, the group agreed that applying an ‘if in doubt, take them out’ philosophy would be the best solution to safeguard the health of football players.”
It comes following some high-profile incidents in the last couple of years and criticisms from how they have been dealt with.
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The decision to allow Jan Vertonghen to return to the pitch during the first leg of Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final against Ajax in 2019 was questioned, while Ryan Giggs was criticised by brain injury charity Headway for suggesting Daniel James’ decision to stay down after a head injury was ‘streetwise’ during Wales’ clash with Croatia, also last year.
Any introduction of concussion substitutions by the Premier League would likely be supported by the FA who have championed research into brain injuries.