FIFPRO calls for temporary concussion substitutes trial at Women’s World Cup

The world players’ union is keen for temporary concussion substitutes to be trialled at this summer’s Women’s World Cup.

Head injuries among footballers are the subject of intense scrutiny at present, with some research suggesting female physiology places them at greater risk of suffering concussion.

The game’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board, will consider whether to give temporary concussion substitute trials the go-ahead when it meets for its annual business meeting at Wembley on January 18.

FIFPRO has long campaigned for such a trial to take place, arguing that the longer off-field assessment period is safer compared to the on-field assessments as part of the permanent concussion substitute protocols which are currently being trialled.

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The World Leagues Forum and FIFPRO wrote to the IFAB last month requesting permission for the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer to test out temporary concussion substitutes.

FIFPRO’s general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “What we want to achieve now is that the possibility for trials of temporary concussion substitutions is available.

“That’s what we’ve asked the meeting next week to give us a green light on, then obviously you need to work with every competition organiser to make them apply them.

“So there’s a subsequent conversation (to be had with FIFA) about which type of concussion substitutions they would apply, if any, in their tournaments in the coming months.

“We think that we need to open this door because we think (temporary concussion substitutes) are the safer route, and that includes of course the Women’s World Cup.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham will chair next week's annual business meeting of the IFAB at Wembley
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham will chair next week’s annual business meeting of the IFAB at Wembley (Nick Potts/PA)

The PA news agency understands the Football Association is very much in favour of the trial being given the green light, and has convened a summit of the UK governing bodies who make up four-fifths of the IFAB next week in an effort to establish a united position and get a protocol agreed between them ahead of the ABM on January 18.

FIFA has so far declined to comment on its current position regarding a temporary concussion substitutes trial.

Adam White, the head of brain health at the Professional Footballers’ Association, welcomed the fact the trials were on the ABM agenda and said: “We believe the time is right for temporary concussion substitutions.

“The football associations should be proactive and use their meeting next week to allow leagues to begin trials with the backing of player unions.”

The IFAB was criticised by safety campaigners after it opted not to permit temporary concussion substitutes trials at its last AGM in June.