The Football Association will bring in permanent concussion substitutes at the earliest opportunity after The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) approved trials on Wednesday.
Premier League clubs are expected to hold a vote on Thursday and agree that each team can have up to two concussion subs in each game. If a team is forced into to a change, the opposition will be granted an additional substitute to use.
An alternative trial option allows one concussion substitute per team, but the opposition would not be allowed to make another change.
National associations must wait on the official paperwork from The IFAB on protocol, but trials are set to begin in January. The FA will introduce concussion subs in the third round of the FA Cup on the weekend of Jan. 9 if possible, but it may have to be delayed to the fourth round on Jan. 23 if the documentation is not received in time.
It comes after extensive discussions by The IFAB’s Concussion Expert Group, which consists of medical concussion experts, team doctors, player representatives and coaches, agreed upon an “if in doubt, take them out” philosophy.
FIFpro, the players’ union, had wanted the IFAB to bring in temporary substitutes for a 10-minute assessment period.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has backed the idea of having an extra concussion substitute as a temporary replacement when players with head injuries are assessed by doctors off the pitch.
Arsenal defender David Luiz is recovering from an injury sustained after clashing heads with Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez on Nov. 29. Jimenez was taken off the pitch on a stretcher and later underwent an operation on a fractured skull. Play restarted 10 minutes later and Luiz was allowed to continue playing with his head bandaged before being substituted at half time.
“You need an extra two minutes or five minutes to check someone, maybe we can think about that. After five minutes you need to make a decision to find a sub,” Arteta said.
“The player wants to carry on playing and the doctor has to tick all the necessary boxes to be certain that the player is okay to continue. If we have any extra doubt, we give them a bit more time if necessary but you cannot play as well 10 or 15 minutes with 10 men in football.”
Arsenal were widely criticised for allowing Luiz to play on but the club defended the decision, saying “protocols were completed” with the player showing no signs of concussion.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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