A rule permitting additional substitutions for players who have suffered concussion could be introduced by 2021, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has said.
Ceferin is concerned that a player could suffer a serious injury if the process for treating – and assessing – concussed players does not improve in the future.
Five things to know about concussions in football…
- At present, you are allowed a maximum of three substitutions in competitive fixtures.
- Uefa requested a review of the current concussion protocol in May.
- Fifa were asked to reconsider concussion policies, urged to prevent a player deemed to be concussed from returning to the field of play.
- Uefa rulings dictate that medical staff are only allowed three minutes to determine whether a player is concussed.
- Ceferin has been Uefa president since 2016.
Speaking to reporters, Ceferin referenced Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen as an example of why concussion in professional football needs to be treated with the utmost care to provide adequate protection for the players.
The Belgian defender suffered a concussion in Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final clash with Ajax but was allowed back onto the pitch, despite still visibly struggling.
Vertonghen lasted mere moments before having to be substituted and was heavily supported by members of Tottenham’s medical staff as he made his way down the tunnel towards the changing rooms.
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Regarding the potential new ruling, Ceferin said: “After Vertonghen’s situation I was scared that something would happen. Because it was clear when he came back that he didn’t feel well. He could die there.
“We will have discussions with FIFA about it to change the laws of the games. Assessment is easier [in 10 minutes]. Now it is crazy. And you can die because of that.
“I don’t see it as a problem. FIFA is also interested in solving this issue. If something were to happen we would regret it forever.
“You have to do something. And if it helps one out of a million players, you did everything [you could].
“The rule change wouldn’t influence the game, change the game or make it less interesting. Now it [the situation] will move. FIFA is very, very interested in this.”