IFAB to assess head injury rules amid support for concussion substitutes

Concussion substitutes could be introduced into football should an International Football Association Board study prove they are feasible.

Everton's Theo Walcott was knocked out in a Premier League clash with Manchester City.   -  Getty Images

FIFPro has hailed the International Football Association Board (IFAB) after an expert group was set up to assess how head injuries are treated.

The football and technical advisory panels of the sport's law-making body have elected to study the possibility of making rule changes, which could include introducing concussion substitutes.

Issues raised with the possibility of using concussion substitutes have been based on sides bending the rules for tactical reasons, with IFAB confirming these concerns would be taken into account by the study group.

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IFAB stated in a release: "The panels agreed that any solutions would have to take account of both player welfare and the need to ensure sporting fairness."

FIFPro lauded IFAB for their action in a statement.

It read: "FIFPro is pleased that IFAB has decided to set up an expert group to study rule changes that would better protect the health and safety of professional footballers who may have suffered a concussion.

"FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gouttebarge has asked football authorities for six years to take more measures to protect footballers who have suffered a suspected concussion.

"A number of recent cases involving players in the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship qualifying and UEFA Champions League have highlighted how critical this issue is."

FIFPro has also pledged to continue their campaign for FIFA to introduce additional regulations relating head injuries, including the use of independent match doctors to assist team medical staff.

IFAB's action follows on from research commissioned by the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association which showed players are more than three times likely to die of dementia than the general public.

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