Extensive trials for concussion substitutions in football will begin from January 2021, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) said.
The IFAB made the declaration in its Annual Business Meeting by video conference on Wednesday. As the only body authorised to decide and agree changes to the laws of football, the IFAB approved extensive trials with additional permanent substitutions for actual or suspected concussion as of January 2021, Xinhua news reports.
“The members agreed that, in the event of an actual or suspected concussion, the player in question should be permanently removed from the match to protect their welfare, but the player’s team should not suffer a numerical disadvantage,” read a statement released by the IFAB.
The board also agreed to extend the five-substitute rule, allowing the option of up to five substitutes in top-level competitions.
This option for domestic competitions will end by December 31, 2021, while for international competitions it will end by July 31, 2022.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IFAB introduced the rule of five substitutes in May. Two months later, football’s lawmakers decided to extend the use of the rule from until the end of this year to the completion of 2020-21 season.
So far, the English Premier League is the only major league in Europe to continue to use just three substitutions. But stakeholders are expected to keep debating the issue, as coaches like Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have pushed for change.