Premier League clubs have agreed “in principle” to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions but the number of regulation in-game changes allowed has not been increased.
Football’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), on Wednesday announced planned trials for concussion substitutions were approved after “less than a year of detailed consultation with relevant stakeholders, medical concussion experts, team doctors, player representatives, coaches, competition organisers, refereeing and Laws of the Game experts”.
Under the proposed protocols, players with an actual or suspected concussion will be “permanently removed from the match to protect their welfare”, with the team allowed to bring on a replacement.
A Premier League statement read: “With player welfare the Premier League’s priority, clubs agreed in principle to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions following approval of the trial by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) yesterday.
“The trial is a result of the IFAB’s consultation with stakeholders and recommendations from their concussion expert group to allow additional substitutions for players with actual or suspected concussion.
“The Premier League will look to implement protocols which will allow a maximum of two concussion substitutes to be used per team, with the opposition side able to use the equivalent number.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 17, 2020
“The additional concussion substitutions may be made regardless of the number of substitutions a team have made already.
“The League will now apply for permission from the IFAB, via the FA, to take part in the trial which could be implemented as early as January 2021.”
Concerns around head injuries have risen in recent weeks after some high-profile incidents in Europe’s elite leagues.
In the Premier League, there was controversy when Arsenal defender David Luiz was allowed to continue only to be substituted at half-time after a clash of heads with Raul Jimenez that left the Wolves striker with a fractured skull.
IFAB also approved an extension to the law that allows competitions the option of granting up to five substitutions per team in a single game until December 31, 2021 for clubs, and until July 31, 2022 on the international stage.
While the Premier League has seemingly opted against taking up this opportunity despite pressure from some managers, it did confirm teams will be allowed to name up to nine substitutes on the bench in each game – an increase from seven.