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Concussion substitutions planned from 2021, says UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino Jan Vertonghen off the pitch
Image: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says he feared the worst for Jan Vertonghen when he was allowed back on after a head injury

A rule permitting additional substitutions for players who have suffered concussion could be introduced by 2021, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said.

UEFA requested a review of the current concussion protocol in May, asking FIFA and IFAB to consider changes to football's laws in an effort to stop concussed players returning to the pitch to reduce pressure on medical staff and doctors.

UEFA's current concussion procedure states that the referee must stop the game in the case of a suspected concussion, but gives only three minutes for medical staff to determine whether or not a player is fit to continue.

This differs from the FA's guidelines, which state that a player may not play on if there is any suspicion of concussion.

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Image: Ceferin wants FIFA and IFAB to have the new protocols in place by 2021

FIFPro, the worldwide organisation representing professional players, also put its weight behind a rule change after Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen was allowed to return to play following a head injury before it became clear he could not continue.

Ceferin said he feared the worst when the Belgian was allowed to return to the pitch, although Tottenham have since confirmed the Belgian did not suffer concussion.

"After Vertonghen's situation I was scared that something would happen," he said.

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"Because it was clear when he came back that he didn't feel well. He could die there.

Jan Vertonghen receives attention at the side of the pitch following a clash of heads with his own team-mate
Image: Vertonghen receives attention at the side of the pitch following a clash of heads with a team-mate

"We will have discussions with FIFA about it to change the laws of the games. Assessment is easier [in 10 minutes]. Now it is crazy. And you can die because of that.

"I don't see it as a problem. FIFA is also interested in solving this issue. If something were to happen we would regret it forever.

"You have to do something. And if it helps one out of a million players, you did everything [you could].

"The rule change wouldn't influence the game, change the game or make it less interesting. Now it [the situation] will move. FIFA is very, very interested in this."

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