After plans were turned down last month, the Football Association will try again to win Fifa’s consent for tests of temporary concussion substitutes..
The Premier League, along with MLS and Ligue 1, should be permitted to examine an alternate approach to treating head injuries, according to English football’s governing body, which is anticipated to reiterate this position at the AGM of the law-making body Ifab on March 4.
The initiative is expected to encounter resistance from Fifa, highlighting the perception of a rift at the top of the game about how to handle a pressing matter.
Fifa cites research from participating club doctors that shows the majority felt no changes to the current permanent concussion substitutes were necessary and is still committed to testing them..
The FA previously supported permanent replacements, but its chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has now reversed course and now supports interim solutions together with players’ unions and brain damage organizations. In support of temporary substitutions, the Premier League cited a study of club doctors who supported their use.
The idea, which was initially put out at Ifab’s annual business meeting last month, failed to reach a vote because Fifa, which has a casting vote at Ifab, remained steadfast in its stance. It thinks the best way to keep athletes safe is to remove them from the field of play permanently after a suspected concussion. Fifa and the four British football associations make up Ifab.
The permanent substitute policy, according to Fifa, can help protect athletes if it is used correctly, following the tenet “suspect and protect.” It also raised worries about how organizations attempting to gain a competitive edge can manipulate temporary replacements.
Supporters of temporary substitutions worry that the possibility of a player’s irreversible loss increases the pressure on club doctors and increases the likelihood that players will insist on continuing. Lukas Brud, the chief executive of Ifab, claimed to the Guardian last year that clubs participating in the trials were failing to follow the permanent protocols. No protocol will help you if you don’t remove a player, he said..
Fifpro, the international players’ union, and the World Leagues Forum expressed their “extreme disappointment” with the choice after the meeting last month and said they will “examine our possibilities” for objecting to it..
Dr. Adam White, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s director of brain health, stated that the implementation of temporary concussion substitutes is now more widely seen as a sensible step to help protect players. Many may understandably wonder, “If not now, when?
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