Second meeting of Concussion Expert Group recommends trials of additional permanent substitutions

Constructive discussions and recommendations concluded today’s second meeting of the Concussion Expert Group (CEG), consisting of medical concussion experts, team doctors, player representatives, coaches, competition organisers and refereeing and Laws of the Game experts. The meeting was chaired by Jonathan Ford, the Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales and a member of The IFAB Board of Directors.

Meeting via videoconference call, the CEG continued its deliberations on how the Laws of the Game could play a role in the management of suspected or actual concussion incidents during a game, mindful that the Laws are limited to the playing of a match.

After a review of developments since the first meeting of the CEG on 30 January 2020, the group focused on the main principles of an “additional permanent substitution” protocol, potential test environments and timelines.

The CEG again emphasised that the protection of players is the main goal and that a clear and uniform approach is needed, which can operate effectively at all levels of the game. Therefore, the group agreed that applying an “if in doubt, take them out” philosophy would be the best solution to safeguard the health of football players.

The members recommended further consultation, working with the FIFA Medical Subdivision and other stakeholders, to facilitate trials to start from January 2021 for any competition that is interested in taking part. Clear, scientific and football-based feedback will be collected to enable The IFAB, FIFA and the expert groups to evaluate the impact of these trials and make appropriate recommendations.

The outcome of this CEG meeting will be discussed at The IFAB’s Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel meeting on 23 November 2020; the matter will then be reviewed at The IFAB’s Annual Business Meeting in December so that appropriate decisions can be taken.

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