Concerns have been raised over concussion rules and the welfare of players at the World Cup following England’s 6-2 victory over Iran in their Group B opener on Monday.
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was down for 10 minutes during the early stages of the first half following a clash of heads with a teammate, while Harry Maguire was also involved in a nervy incident, with questions raised as to why both players were allowed to carry on momentarily before being substituted off.
Here is all you need to know about the concussion rules for players at the World Cup, including when they are allowed to carry on and when they need to be taken off.
What happened during England vs Iran?
Iran goalkeeper Berienvand went down in the 20th minute following a clash of heads with one of his defenders after coming out to claim a cross into the box from Harry Kane to Raheem Sterling.
The Iran No.1 struggled to compose himself as he remained on the floor for 10 minutes, before shockingly carrying on to resume play. However, moments later, he signalled to come off as he could visibly no longer carry on.
England defender Maguire also had blurred vision following a knock to the head in the second half, although it has since been revealed that he is suffering no more than that.
What are the rules surrounding concussion?
FIFA’s website states that a player should not play for 10 days before they can be considered for a return to action. This would see Berienvand take no further part in the World Cup if his side failed to make it through to the knockout stages.
Had Maguire had come off due to concussion, the same rules would also apply. However, it is likely that teams and players will try to bend these rules if they feel they are okay to play, in which case extra tests may need to be taken to determine the health of the individual.
FIFA’s website states: “For the first time at a FIFA World Cup, an independent Concussion Assessment and Rehabilitation Service will be offered in Qatar to provide an evidence-based assessment of any player who has suffered a brain injury, including recommendations from concussion experts regarding the player’s return to play.”
Impact on substitutes
Should a player be removed from the pitch in order to follow concussion protocols, then an extra substitution is awarded to that team so that it does not take up one of the five that they are given throughout the game.
This allows clubs to still make their other allotted changes, with FIFA putting player safety at the forefront of the rules. However, this also allows the opposing side to make an extra substitution in order to keep things equal and as fair as possible.