Permanent concussion substitutions introduced into football’s laws

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Permanent concussion substitutions will be introduced into the laws of football, the game’s lawmakers have confirmed.

The measure, which has been trialled in a number of competitions such as the Premier League, Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship and FA Cup, will come into effect from July 1, 2024.

Teams will be able to use additional substitutions, outside of their allotted amount, if any player is showing signs of a concussion, regardless of the number of changes they have made already.

However, a trial for temporary concussion substitutions — a measure which has been called for by the Premier League as well as players’ unions — was not approved at the annual general meeting of The International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Scotland on Saturday.

It is understood the Premier League remain of the view that permitting professional leagues to trial temporary concussion substitutes will significantly benefit player welfare and the sport.

Scottish Football Association CEO, Ian Maxwell, said: “Regarding permanent concussion substitutions, the trial we’ve run is effectively concluded and that is now enshrined in the laws of the game.

“It will be for competitions to determine whether they want to use permanent concussion substitutes, as per the protocol.”

Other law changes approved at the AGM include handball offences that are not deliberate, and for which penalties are awarded, are to be treated in the same way as other fouls as well as encroachment by outfield players during penalty kicks only being penalised if it has an impact.

Trials involving only a team’s captain being able to approach the referee in certain situations and the introduction of cooling-off periods to allow the referee to require teams to go to their own penalty area will be undertaken below the top two tiers.

There will also be a trial of increasing the time limit for goalkeepers holding the ball from six to eight seconds, with possession of the ball then reverting to the opposing team.

Sin bin trials will continue at grassroots level but won’t expanded after a significant backlash to plans for blue cards from a number of high-profile figures in the game.

(Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images)

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