'Concussion substitutes' to be discussed at next meeting of IFAB, football's law-making body

Concussion substitutes will be discussed at the next gathering of football's law-making body later this month.

Rangers defender Borna Barisic checks on Daniel James after the Manchester United youngster suffered a suspected head knock in Wales' match with Croatia
Rangers defender Borna Barisic checks on Daniel James after the Manchester United youngster suffered a suspected head knock in Wales' match with Croatia

The football advisory panel and technical advisory panel of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) will meet in Zurich on October 23.

The agenda for the meeting was released on Tuesday, and the "assessment and management" of concussion is on it. Within that, the PA news agency understands there will be a discussion on the use of concussion substitutes in the event of head injuries.

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The concussion assessment period could ultimately be extended from three to 10 minutes, and substitutes could be brought on temporarily or permanently in place of the player who has suffered a head injury.

The issue came back to the fore on Sunday when Wales midfielder Daniel James appeared to be knocked unconscious during the first half of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia.

His manager Ryan Giggs claimed the player was not concussed and was just being "streetwise", comments which were criticised by brain injury charity Headway.

Its chief executive Peter McCabe said on Monday: "Like most people watching the footage of the incident, our immediate concern was for the player's health.

"As soon as the incident occurred, he was attended to by the medics who then determined that he was fit to continue.

"Although it is argued that concussion protocols were followed, the rules state that if a concussion is suspected a player must be removed from the game.

"To all watching, it appeared that Daniel James lost consciousness. Regardless of his manager's comments after the game, this in itself must surely have given enough reason to take a cautious approach.

"However, Ryan Giggs' claim that the player was being 'streetwise' by staying down and appearing to have been knocked out is shocking.

"If that is the case and James was 'acting', it raises serious questions about the player's understanding of the seriousness of concussion. Not only has he put his own medical team under intense and unfair scrutiny, but he's also set a dangerous example for the millions watching at home.

"Similarly, we have serious concerns about terms like 'streetwise' or that the player was 'just using his nous'. It is simply not acceptable for teams to use concussion protocols for tactical gain."

Giggs said: "He [James] stayed down and was a bit streetwise. He told the doctors, 'I'm not moving, I'm just sitting still'. Not to get anyone sent off, he was just using his nous."