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Tuesday, November 24, 2020
IFAB Support Proposals to Hold Concussion Substitute Trials

The International Football Association Board's (IFAB) Football and Technical Advisory Panels have supported proposals to trial additional substitutions for players with head injuries.

Last month, the IFAB Concussion Expert Group recommended extra substitutions for concussed players be trialed, having discussed "additional permanent substitution" protocols, timelines for trials and potential test environments.

In a videoconference meeting chaired by IFAB director and Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford, the Football and Technical Advisory Panels agreed that trials should start as soon as possible.

The Panels suggested that IFAB approve the proposals at its upcoming Annual Business Meeting on December 16, when it will also set the agenda for its Annual General Meeting on March 6.

A five-substitute option is currently in use around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with this set to remain in place as the global health crisis continues.

Football is coming under increasing pressure to do more to protect players from head injuries, with UEFA earlier this year approving guidelines to limit heading in youth football to mirror US Soccer regulations.

A Glasgow University study into dementia and football found former players were more than three times more likely to die of the disease than the general public, and high-profile players including Alan Shearer - the English Premier League's all-time leading scorer - have discussed their concerns over the sport's relationship with head injuries.

Concussion substitutions already exist in sports ranging from rugby union to cricket.

While clearly a positive in terms of player welfare, there is some concern that a system allowing concussion replacements could be manipulated to allow teams to make additional tactical changes under the guise of a concussion replacement.
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