FIFA hails International Football Association Board (IFAB) decision on permanent concussion substitutes

Decision is a “very important” step, says Mattias Grafström, FIFA Secretary General ad interim and Chair of The IFAB’s Board of Directors; FIFA (www.FIFA.com) to launch global campaign to raise awareness of concussion symptoms; Decision is among several law changes confirmed at the 138th Annual General Meeting.

The decision to make permanent concussion substitutes part of the Laws of the Game, taken by The IFAB at its 138th Annual General Meeting, was based on extensive medical research and out of concern for the welfare of the players.

“I think we’re not afraid to take on responsibilities and we really want to base all our decisions on data and also medical advice,” said FIFA Secretary General ad interim Mattias Grafström following the meeting in Loch Lomond, Scotland. “This is also the basis [on which] we took the decision today on the permanent concussion substitution, which I think is a very important step moving forward,” added Mr Grafström, who was confirmed as the new Chair of The IFAB’s Board of Directors.

FIFA also confirmed that it would launch a global campaign to raise awareness of how to recognise the symptoms of concussion and treat them appropriately, and that it would continue to invest in gathering more medical expertise about concussions.

“If there’s any doubt about any player’s ability to continue due to a suspected concussion, then they should be taken off the pitch, they should be assessed properly,” said Noel Mooney, Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales. “And the medical evidence we’ve got suggests there is no amount of time that will allow that to happen and let them still take part in the game. And fundamentally, the protection of the players has to come first.”

He added: “Why would you risk a player coming back onto the field who may be concussed because the only tests you can carry out at the side of a pitch won’t give you the concrete understanding of whether a player is concussed or not? So it’s very simple. If there’s any doubt about player safety, then the player should be removed from the pitch.”

The decision will be incorporated into the next edition of the Laws of the Game, which will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FIFA.

Contact for African media: 
AfricanMedia@fifa.org

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