Extra Concussion Substitutes to Be Trialed in World Soccer

December 16, 2020

ZURICH — Soccer competitions can start trials next month to allow extra substitutes when a player is suspected of having a concussion after the sport's rule-making panel approved the move Wednesday.

The International Football Association Board said the "extensive trials" will be allowed with a focus that "if in doubt, the player is withdrawn." The English Football Association has previously said it could use the rule in FA Cup men's and women's games, which resume next month. 

Teams will be allowed a permanent substitution in concussion cases, with the player involved not allowed to return later in the game. The aim is to remove the incentive to keep a concussed player on the field and to discourage rushed medical assessments. 

"The members agreed that, in the event of an actual or suspected concussion, the player in question should be permanently removed from the match to protect their welfare, but the player's team should not suffer a numerical disadvantage," IFAB said in a statement.

The English Premier League could discuss possible trials at a meeting of its clubs Thursday. Competition organizers have to apply to IFAB for permission to hold a trial and will have to provide updates on how it goes. 


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