MLS to trial concussion substitutes in 2021

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(Reuters) - Major League Soccer (MLS) will be among several leagues in the United States to introduce concussion substitution trials for the 2021 season, the country's soccer federation said on Monday.

U.S. Soccer, alongside a concussion task force made up of representatives from organisations including the MLS and National Women's Soccer League, agreed to implement the rule which will allow teams two additional concussion replacements, regardless of the number of substitutions already used.

World soccer's rule-making body IFAB in December gave the go-ahead for trials of additional concussion subs.

"Adopting this new rule is an important step as we continue to lead the way in player safety," U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas said in a statement.

"It was critical to come together as a sport with our professional leagues and proceed in this pilot program, prioritizing the well-being of our players above all.

"We've worked hard to raise awareness of head injuries in soccer over the last several years, and this change should go a long way in protecting players suspected of suffering a concussion."

The rule was in place during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in February, and England's top-flight Premier League and Women's Super League are also trialling the system.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)