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Monday 04 Mar 2024
IFAB approves concussion substitutions

The IFAB has approved concussion substitutions among several changes to and clarifications of the Laws of the Game.

Football’s lawmakers agreed on a new protocol which would allow teams to replace a player with a suspected head injury without it counting towards their allocation of substitutes.

However, it will be up to organisers of competitions to determine if they want to use permanent concussion substitutions as per the protocol.

The protocol for such substitutions was approved at the 138th annual general meeting of The International Football Association Board (IFAB) staged in Scotland over the weekend.

The AGM was hosted by the Scottish FA and also attended by representatives from FIFA, The FA, the Irish FA and the FA of Wales.

Detailed protocols for three trials in domestic competitions aimed at improving participant behaviour were also approved, although these would only apply below the top two tiers.

It was agreed that only a team’s captain should be able to approach the referee in certain situations, while cooling-off periods should be introduced to allow the referee to require teams to go to their own penalty area.

It was further agreed the time limit for goalkeepers holding the ball should increase from six to eight seconds, otherwise possession will revert to the opposing team.

IFAB also agreed to refine the use of sin bins (10-minute temporary dismissals) in youth and grassroots football. It said any potential wider application will only be considered once the impact of any changes has been reviewed.

The IFAB decided to extend FIFA’s trial where the referee publicly announces the final decisions and the reasoning after a video assistant referee (VAR) review or lengthy VAR check to other competitions. Participating competitions will require permission from The IFAB and will have to commit to following FIFA’s refereeing and technology guidelines.

It was agreed the next edition of the Laws of the Game, which will come into effect on 1 July this year, will feature the following changes and clarifications:

Law 3 (The Players): Additional permanent concussion substitutions to be a competition option in accordance with the necessary protocol.

Law 3 (The Players) and Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment): Each team must have a team captain who wears an identifying armband.

Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment): Players are responsible for the size and suitability of their shinguards, which remain a compulsory part of their equipment.

Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct): Handball offences that are not deliberate, and for which penalties are awarded, are to be treated in the same way as other fouls.

Law 14 (The Penalty Kick): Part of the ball must touch or overhang the centre of the penalty mark, and encroachment by outfield players will be penalised only if it has an impact.

At the AGM, which was held at the Cameron House Hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond, FIFA confirmed it would launch a global campaign to raise awareness of how to recognise the symptoms of concussion and treat it appropriately, while The IFAB also requested relevant medical data analyses to be provided to the subsequent AGM in line with the amendment to Law 3 regarding the topic.