The International Football Association Board plans to appoint a concussion expert group

Following the International Football Association Board’s plan to recruit a concussion expert group, trials involving concussion substitutions may be introduced after the European Championships.

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At the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) 2019 Annual Business Meeting (ABM; 4 December, Belfast, Northern Ireland), a focus on concussion assessment in football was confirmed. This decision was made following positive feedback on the law changes that came into effect on 1 June, such as changes to medical breaks in the interest of player safety.

It was at the earlier IFAB Advisory panel meeting in October this year when the panel started considering concussion during matches. Following a presentation from a leading expert in concussion in sport, options for the assessment and management of concussion during a match were discussed. Whilst the panel agreed that player welfare was the main concern, they also highlighted the importance of ensuring sporting fairness.

At the 2019 ABM a detailed discussion took place on concussion, which concluded with an agreement to appoint an expert group.  While putting player safety as the main priority, this group will focus on identifying possible options for in-game assessment and management of suspect concussion, as they consider all potential consequences.

Members of the expert group will be announced over the next few months, but they will include medical sports specialists and football experts.

Further, during the AMB the Board discussed further steps to be taken in regard to the play fair! initiative, such as improving player behavior and increase respect.

Lawmakers have previously been criticized for their failure to introduce concussion substitutes. Although the possibility of the expert group introducing the substitutions during next summer’s European Championships appears to be ruled out, there is hope for the next season.

Source: The International Football Association Board. 2019 Annual Business Meeting confirms The IFAB focus on concussion assessment and management in football. https://www.theifab.com/news/2019-annual-business-meeting-confirms-the-ifab-focus-on-concussion-assessment-and-management-in-football

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Kimberley Ndungu

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