A major brain injury charity has heavily criticised the new concussion substitute rules launched by the Premier League this week.
Published by Headway, the report comes after the first recorded use of the new concussion substitute protocol.
Under the new laws of the game, a player suspected of concussion – caused by a knock to the head or otherwise – can be swapped with another player without using one of the team’s offical substitutions.
The rule was introduced to incentivise clubs to remove players with suspected concussion so that they could receive immediate treatment and not risk exacerbating injury.
However, Headway says the first recorded use of the rule has highlighted the “deeply flawed nature” of concussion substitutes in football.
The incident happened during an FA Cup match between Manchester United and West Ham earlier this week, following a clash of heads between players Anthony Martial and Issa Diop.
Both players received on-pitch treatment for two minutes and returned to play, only for Mr Diop to be removed at half time after being judged unfit to continue.
“The decision to allow Issa Diop to return to the field of play after being assessed for concussion in just two minutes while still on the pitch shows just how deeply flawed this new protocol is,” said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway.
“When this rule was introduced to much fanfare, we warned that it would make very little difference in terms of protecting players from the risk of more serious injury.
“The new protocol has failed its very first test. FIFA and IFAB must act now to alter the rule and introduce temporary concussion substitutes to avoid such unacceptable risk being taken in the future.”