LONDON: Tottenham have been criticised by the international players’ union and by FIFA’s chief medical officer for allowing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to play on against Everton on Sunday.
The France goalkeeper had been knocked unconscious in a collision with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku shortly before the end of the 0-0 draw. After coming round he insisted on playing on.
Lloris has been given the all-clear after a CT scan but both FIFPro and FIFA’s Jiri Dvorak have insisted the club were wrong to take the risk of letting him do so.
FIFPro has said it was “alarmed” by the club’s decision and that “manager Andres Villas-Boas and his staff failed to protect the goalkeeper by allowing him to see out the remainder of the match.”
Villas-Boas had said: “Hugo doesn’t remember [the incident] because he lost consciousness. It was a big knock but he looked composed and ready to continue. Hugo seemed assertive and determined to continue and showed great character and personality. We decided to keep him on based on that.”
However FIFPro medical advisor Vincent Gouttebarge said: “FIFPro condemns that the health and safety of players are let to coaches/trainers or even to players themselves.
“Medical professionals should be aware of any relevant medical guidelines and apply them in order to empower the health and safety on the field. The health and safety of the players should be the number one priority and should prevail against any other matters.”
FIFPro pointed out a wave of recent concern about the failure in sport in general to recognise and understand the latent risk of head injuries.
Dvorak said there was a “99 per cent probability” that Lloris would have been concussed after his head made contact with Lukaku’s knee.
FIFA hosted a conference on concussion in sport a year ago, and earlier this year updated its guidelines.
Dvorak said: “The player should have been substituted. The fact the other player needed ice on his knee means it’s obvious the blow was extensive. It’s a 99 per cent probability that losing consciousness in such an event will result in concussion.”
The club had been wrong to accept the player’s opinion. Dvorak said: “When he has been knocked unconscious, the player himself may not see the reality . . . We have a slogan: if there is any doubt, keep the player out.”
Tottenham said in a statement: “The club can confirm that Hugo Lloris underwent a precautionary CT scan and was given the all-clear and travelled back to London last night.
“The France goalkeeper suffered a knock to the head following a collision with Everton forward Romelu Lukaku in the closing stages of yesterday’s Premier League encounter at Goodison Park and was cleared to resume playing after examination by the club’s medical team.”
Spurs head of medical services Wayne Diesel added: “Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing.”
The Football Association is not reported to be investigating Tottenham’s handling of he incident.
FA regulations state: “Any player remaining immobile and unresponsive to verbal commands following a head injury will be regarded as being unconscious and treated in accordance with established principles for extrication and management of the unconscious player. There will be no return to play during that day.”
The rules do however allow for “a transient alteration of conscious level” following a head injury, which says a player can return to play following assessment by medical staff.