Allowing Iran keeper to play on after head injury an ‘utter disgrace’ – Headway

The decision to let Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand play on after a head-on collision with a team-mate against England has been branded an “utter disgrace” by brain injury charity Headway.

Beiranvand had got a hand to a Harry Kane cross in the sides’ World Cup opener in Doha on Monday but in doing so collided face first with team-mate Majid Hosseini and was in need of treatment for several minutes.

Incredibly, Beiranvand was allowed to play on despite the clash of heads leaving him with a bloodied nose.

Beiranvand was eventually carried off on a stretcher
Beiranvand was eventually carried off on a stretcher (Martin Rickett/PA)

Moments later, however, the former Royal Antwerp stopper was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Hossein Hosseini.

FIFA said its “comprehensive concussion protocol”, which is based on a “suspect and protect” credo, has been implemented in relation to Beiranvand.

The 30-year-old was taken to hospital for further assessment on what Iran manager Carlos Queiroz termed a “serious concussion”.

Luke Griggs, Headway’s interim chief executive, could not believe what he witnessed.

He said in a statement issued to the PA news agency: “It is an utter disgrace that the Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand was allowed to stay on the pitch.

“It was irrelevant that he came off a minute later, he shouldn’t have stayed on for a second, let alone a minute.

“He was clearly distressed and unfit to continue, this seems to be another case of the decision being made by the player and not medical staff.

“This was the first test of the FIFA World Cup concussion protocol and it was an abject failure.”

FIFA said it expects all teams to act in the best interests of their players and take off anyone suspected of having concussion.

Team doctors from each of the 32 competing nations took part in a player health and wellbeing workshop in July and received copies of the governing body’s concussion protocols.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand received lengthy medical attention
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand received lengthy medical attention (Mike Egerton/PA)

FIFA also has medical coordinators and injury spotters overseeing play at each stadium.

A FIFA spokesperson said: “The health of all individuals involved in the World Cup is a key priority. FIFA has therefore implemented a comprehensive concussion protocol, which is based on FIFA’s ‘suspect and protect’ credo.

“Based on this protocol, FIFA provides a standardised approach to support team doctors in their decision as to whether a player should be allowed to continue to play or should be removed from play after a head injury.

“If there is a suspicion of a concussive injury at any stage, FIFA encourages all team doctors to remove the player from the match or training session and assess and treat them appropriately.

“The aforementioned protocol was implemented today in relation to Iran’s player Alireza Beiranvand.

“While the ultimate responsibility in terms of concussion diagnosis and management lies with the relevant team doctor, FIFA expects all teams to act in the best interests of their players and their health.”

Iran are managed by Carlos Queiroz
Iran are managed by Carlos Queiroz (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asked about the incident at his post-match press conference, Iran boss Queiroz said: “It was not clear but unfortunately one minute after (the collision), the player was not able to keep going.

“He suffered a serious concussion and in this moment he is on his way to hospital to make final determinations.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association said it was “devastating” for Beiranvand to have to come off so early in a World Cup but added: “We have seen a clear example, on the world’s biggest stage, of the current concussion protocols not being applied under match pressure.”