Temporary substitutions for players who suffered concussions during matches is an issue being worked on, with implementation throughout various footballing competitions planned for next season, after new research regarding the severity of such injuries.
Football's current approach to concussion has come under heavy criticism when compared to other contact sports, with examples of players often re-entering the field of play after being assessed, despite not being in a fit state to do so.
At present, a three-minute inspection by the respective players' physio team takes place under the discretion of the match official, but the new protocol would raise that time-frame to ten minutes and allow sides to temporarily substitute a player, while the injured player receives a more thorough investigation.
As reported by the Mail, new research by the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group found that ex-footballers had suffered from a range of neurological diseases as a result of repeated concussion, with new research also revealing that former professional players are five times more likely to die from Alzheimer’s disease as a direct result of repeated head injuries.
This landmark discovery has aided in accelerating plans to impose new temporary substitutions across the footballing world, not just in the Premier League. Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has been in discussion with FIFpro, the global players’ union, UEFA and the Premier League about the new plans - which would be similar in effect to the assessment protocol used in rugby union.
FIFA themselves are also keen on the idea of a ten-minute assessment of the players who suffer concussion, with FIFpro also pushing for medics - independent from FIFA or the competing teams - to have the final say on whether a player is fit to continue playing. There would also be a 'return to play' protocol which would be applied globally across all competitions.
Clarke is due to make a presentation on the issue to FIFA later this week, with hopes of drafting up a protocol that could be implemented at the nearest possible time. An IFAB meeting is scheduled for December, with Clarke explaining that, "one of the things we're pushing on, and I've spoken to FIFA and UEFA about this, is to introduce concussion substitutes as quickly as possible."
Changes to the laws of the game can then be voted through at the next IFAB AGM, which will be held in February 2020. The overall goal is to have these new plans put into place as soon as possible, which would allow them to be implemented for the coming 2020/21 seasons.