Concussion subs: FIFA to trial new idea at Club World Cup next month

Football’s world governing body FIFA says the use of an additional permanent concussion substitute will be trialled at the Club World Cup.

The competition, which has been delayed until February due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, involves the continental champions from each confederation, including Europe’s Champions League winners Bayern Munich.

FIFA has decided to adopt the protocol whereby a team can make one additional change in the event of a player suffering a suspected concussion, with the opposition not afforded a reciprocal change.

This differs from the protocol the Football Association and the Premier League intend to trial, where each team would be allowed to make up to two additional permanent substitutes, with the opponent afforded the same number of changes.

Teams will be able to make up to five ‘normal’ substitutes in a match on top of the additional concussion sub.


A FIFA statement read: “Following FIFA’s input and extensive consultation with key stakeholders, the protocols for concussion substitutes had been approved at the IFAB’s annual business meeting in December 2020.

“(The protocols have) a view to – sending a strong message that, if in any doubt, the player should be withdrawn; preventing a player sustaining another concussion during the match, as multiple head-injury incidents can have very serious consequences; reducing the pressure on medical personnel to make a quick assessment; and establishing a simple procedure that can be applied at all levels of the game.”

The tournament will take place between February 1 and 11 in Qatar.

It is understood FIFA remains keen for concussion substitutes to also be trialled at the Olympic football tournament in Tokyo this summer.

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