The football and technical advisory panels of the sport’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) met in Zurich on Wednesday to discuss how head injuries are treated, which included looking at the possibility of concussion substitutes.
The panels recommended that due to “the complex nature of assessing and managing concussion at different levels of the game”, an expert group should be established to investigate further.
IFAB said that the views of the panels expressed in Zurich would be shared at its annual business meeting in Belfast on December 3.
Any recommended changes to the laws of the game would have to be approved at IFAB’s annual general meeting, also in Belfast on February 29 next year.
Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway – the brain injury association, said: “We welcome the news that the IFAB is finally ready to introduce concussion substitutes to football after repeated calls for action to be taken. However, it is disappointing that we are facing another unnecessary delay in committing to make this happen.
“Football needs strong and decisive leadership on this issue not another committee. But what we have is a decision to delay, and take another step sideways, rather than catching up with other sports – such as rugby union.
“We understand that there is a process that needs to be followed, especially to make sure there are sanctions in place should players or coaches look to inappropriately use the rules for tactical advantage, but we see no reason why the IFAB cannot immediately make a firm commitment to introduce concussion substitutions while working on the finer details.
“We hope that IFAB will use the additional committee meetings to also discuss the use of independent doctors in concussion assessments in order to relieve the pressure on team doctors.”