The FA are set to bring forward the introduction of concussion substitutions, with the new measure set to be trailed in this season’s FA Cup competition.
Football lawmakers IFAB are set to agree to the trial of such substitutions in the coming weeks and would see them introduced potentially in FA Cup third round ties in January.
As per the Guardian, an IFAB expert panel has already approved the use of concussion substitutions and it is believed that IFAB chiefs will swiftly push through the changes in their next meeting on December 16.
The report suggests that there had been hopes to implement such changes last season, yet the issue of Covid-19 derailed the prospect of that happening.
The new rules would allow an extra substitution to a side who have a player deemed to be at risk of concussion during a match, with the substitution being a permanent replacement rather than a temporary switch.
The idea of a concussion switch during a match being a temporary one has reportedly been floated, although IFAB were seemingly against the idea due to the fact that players could end up returning to the field of play only to then see concussion symptoms emerge later on.
Recent years have seen a campaign for such substitutions to be introduced, particularly with the rising fears regarding the links between heading the ball and neurodegenerative diseases. A study of Scottish footballers born before 1977 found players were 3.5 times more likely than the average person to die from such diseases.
Earlier this month World Cup winner Bobby Charlton was revealed to have been diagnosed with dementia, becoming one of several members of that glorious 1966 side to be affected by the disease.
While that has led to an investigation into the impact of heading primarily in causing issues later on in life, repeated head injuries and concussions may also have a role to play in doing permanent and long-lasting damage.
What is not clear at this stage, however, is how soon it’ll be before Europe’s major leagues, including the Premier League, follow suit, with legal fears over what would happen were the trials to go wrong.
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