FIFA medical officer wants strict new rules on concussion

Tue Sep 9, 2014 2:30pm EDT
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By Mike Collett

MANCHESTER England (Reuters) - Referees will be instructed to stop a match immediately for three minutes when a player is suspected of being concussed, if a proposal from FIFA's chief medical officer is accepted.

Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of FIFA's medical committee and a UEFA executive committee member, told delegates at the Soccerex Global Convention on Tuesday that he will put his proposal before the European governing body at their executive committee meeting on Sept.18 and to FIFA's executive on Sept.25.

Although cases of concussion are relatively rare in soccer, D'Hooghe said there were five suspected cases at the Brazil World Cup.

There have also been some high profile incidents that have raised concerns at FIFA such as when France international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was concussed playing for his club Tottenham Hotspur against Everton last year.

"If there is a suspected concussion we will ask the referee to stop the game for three minutes. The referee will only allow the player to continue playing with the green light of the team doctor — nobody else," the Belgian said.

D'Hooghe told reporters that as this proposal does not constitute a change in the laws of the game, but just in the rules of competition, it could come into force as early as Oct. 1.

If approved, it would apply initially to matches in World Cup qualifying games, European Championship qualifiers, Champions League and Europa League matches, but not at the domestic level.


Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann