Premier League seeks to join trial on temporary concussion substitutes

The English Premier League has asked football’s lawmakers if they can take part in a trial which would see temporary concussion substitutions used from the start of next season.

A joint-application from the Premier League, MLS and Ligue 1 has been launched through FIFPro and the World Leagues Forum to the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

Medics at all 20 Premier League clubs have been consulted during the past four to six weeks over the current concussion protocols in place in the top flight, where a head injury assessment is carried out on the pitch and a permanent concussion substitution used if required.

Premier League medics are in favour of implementing temporary concussion substitutes where a player with suspected concussion would leave the field of play to be assessed in a private area and be temporarily replaced.

If that player passed the HIA, they would be allowed back onto the field. If the player in question failed the assessment, the change would become a permanent concussion substitute.

Several controversial incidents occurred at the World Cup where players suffered head injuries with brain injury charity Headway critical of Wales’ handling of Neco Williams’ substitution against England in a group fixture last month.

Williams fell to the floor after blocking Marcus Rashford’s shot with the top of his head but passed FIFA’s concussion test and continued before he was withdrawn before half-time. Headway used the incident to highlight the need for temporary concussion substitutions to be introduced.

Similar situations occurred in the Premier League before the mid-season break with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez being forced off against Newcastle after originally attempting to play on following a head injury.

IFAB rejected calls to introduce temporary concussion substitutions at its annual general meeting in Doha this summer, stating the existing concussion protocols – that allow for additional permanent concussion substitutes – would remain in place with its trial extended until August next year.

A decision over whether the application from the Premier League, MLS and Ligue 1 has been successful is expected in March.

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