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FIFA set to introduce three-minute concussion breaks

After a string of incidents at the World Cup, football’s governing body prepare to take decisive action.

Uruguay's Alvero Pereira was knocked unconscious during a World Cup game against England but was allowed to play on. He later claimed the incident was like 'the lights had gone out'.
Uruguay's Alvero Pereira was knocked unconscious during a World Cup game against England but was allowed to play on. He later claimed the incident was like 'the lights had gone out'.
Image: Michael Sohn/AP/Press Association Images

FIFA HAS ANNOUNCED plans to allow referees to halt matches for three minutes so that players suspected of sustaining concussion can be assessed.

The issue of concussion in football has made recent headlines following high-profile cases at the World Cup in Brazil, notably an incident that involved Germany’s Christoph Kramer during the final.

“The incidents at the World Cup have shown that the role of team doctors needs to be reinforced in order to ensure the correct management of potential cases of concussion in the heat of the competition,” FIFA said in a statement.

After discussion with team doctors and confederations, FIFA’s medical committee is to submit a proposal to the body’s executive committee in order to improve the protocol. The organisation said:

Under the proposal, whenever a suspected incident of concussion occurs, the referee will have the ability to stop the game for three minutes, allowing the relevant team doctor to complete an on-pitch assessment and decide if the player has suspected concussion. The referee will only allow the injured party to continue playing with the authorisation of the team doctor, who will have the final decision.”

The medical committee also reported that the World Cup in Brazil had been a “clear success from a medical perspective, with a decrease in injuries and no positive doping cases reported”.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Final - Germany v Argentina - Estadio do Maracana Germany's Cristoph Kramer was suffered a concussion in the World Cup final and played on for over ten minutes before eventually being replaced. Source: Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

“The number of injuries went down from 2.7 per match at the 2002 World Cup to 1.7 per match at Brazil 2014,” it said.

“Compared to previous editions, less injuries were caused by fouls, which shows the improvements in refereeing.”

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