KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFPro has welcomed a decision by the International Board to study law changes to better protect footballers concerning concussion.

Meetings of the IFAB advisory panels agreed to set up an expert group to consider the issue which has been a subject of increasing concern.

Dr Vincent Gouttebarge, chief medical officer of the international players’ union, has been pressing governing bodies for six years to take more measures to protect professional footballers who have suffered a suspected concussion.

A number of recent cases involving players in the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship qualifying and UEFA Champions League have highlighted concerns.

He said: “I suffered concussions while playing in the Dutch league in 1998 and 2003 which were poorly managed by club staff who did not assess me carefully enough and allowed me to continue playing.

“Over the last six years, FIFPro has recommended to FIFA and other football stakeholders that they extend the allotted time in which a doctor can assess a player with a potential concussion to 10 minutes.

“We would fully endorse any changes in the Laws of the Game that would facilitate this necessary 10-minutes window, such as the use of a temporary substitute during this period.”

FIFPro wants the mandatory use of independent match doctors to assist team doctors on whether footballers with a concussion can continue playing.

It believes a six-day return-to-play concussion protocol agreed by doctors representing FIFA, World Rugby, the International Olympic Committee and other sports organisations in the latest edition of the International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport should not be merely a guideline but incorporated in regulations and protocols.