Advisory Body of IFAB Supports Concussion substitutions


The advisory panel of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has declared support for the use of additional substitutions also known as concussion substitutions.

Recently, the English Football Association and the Premier League agreed to commence trials for concussion substitutions in the 2021-2022 season. The rule is being worked on by IFAB and it is expected to become law in January 2021.

The rule stipulates that permanent substitution can be made if a player suffers a head injury during a match. This implies that the affected team can make a new substitution even if the team has exhausted the regular number of substitutions.

On November 23, the advisory board of IFAB, (the football and technical advisory panel ‘FAP-TAP’), met to discuss the modalities of the new rule and agreed that it was worth introducing into the football system. Despite this endorsement, the proposed rule will not be law until IFAB sits on it in December. After December’s meeting, domestic football associations will be allowed to adopt the new rule in their domestic football in January.

The proposed rule became necessary due to the increasing number of retired footballers going down with mental illness especially dementia. The most recent case was that of Sir Bobby Charlton, a retired England and Manchester United football legend who was recently diagnosed with dementia.

Though the Premier League has agreed to commence the use of the rule from the 2021-2022 season, the English FA recently announced that the association will introduce the rule during the 2020-2021 FA Cup campaign.

A statement from IFAB said FAP-TAP has given the go-ahead for the introduction of the concussion rule which will give teams the right to make an additional substitution when a player is suspected to have suffered a concussion “as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, IFAB has clarified the controversial handball rule. The lawmaking body discussed the controversial rule on Monday due to a letter from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to FIFA president Infantino noting how frustrating the handball rule is becoming.

Advisory Body of IFAB Supports Concussion substitutions
An Offside map in a football game.

In a statement IFAB issued after the advisory board meeting on Monday, the lawmaking body said: “It was re-emphasized that the final judgment remains with the referee and not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offense and, in terms of a definition of the term ‘unnaturally bigger’, referees should judge the position of the hand/arm about the player’s movement in that phase of play.

“It was agreed that extensive trials would be necessary before a law change could be proposed.”

The Premier League has witnessed a series of controversial penalty calls which have attracted a series of criticism. This criticism might continue since it is left to the referee to determine what should stand as a handball.


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