FIFPRO & European Leagues Issue Joint Statement On Concussion
Following the end of the 2018/2019 season, FIFPRO and European Leagues have critically reviewed match incidents with serious impact on player health, performance and long term quality of life. As a consequence, FIFPRO and European Leagues have agreed on a framework to elevate standards of concussion management across European football leagues.
Concussion, while not as frequent as other muscular or skeletal injuries in football, can have extreme short and long-term health consequences for football players. In order to prevent and manage the risks associated with concussions more effectively national leagues and player unions will implement enhanced concussion management protocols, which include:
– Implementation and application of the principles and objectives of the International Consensus Statement on Concussions in Sport and related rules in the relevant domestic rules. Such rules are to be transposed by the national parties in the relevant domestic rules. This includes concussion management procedures on the field as well as return to play protocols.
– Pre-season education programs to be implemented with players, coaches, medical staff and referees.
– Joint league and player union procedures and/or structures for the monitoring and reporting of concussive incidents and the application of the relevant regulations. Such procedures to be connected to sanctioning mechanisms.
– Measures (such as the requirement of further training and education) and procedures for the enforcement of the domestic regulatory standards via disciplinary codes or similar.
– Depending on the domestic capacities, in-game instant video replay for the identification of concussion, via live broadcasting images may be made available to the relevant medical staff.
– Independent physicians and other innovative support mechanisms such as independent stadium spotters will be considered based on a country by country basis to identify and assess suspected concussions.
The described measures will be implemented over the course of the coming two seasons via domestic agreements. FIFPRO and European Leagues will also form a scientific expert group to further study the occurrence of concussions and make recommendations for possible further regulatory changes.
Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, General Secretary of FIFPRO Europe, said: “This is a critical issue for our players’ long term wellbeing and it is encouraging that we will be able to raise the bar for the relevant protections. Other sports such as rugby or American football have been able to improve the management of and awareness for concussions significantly in their sports.
“Football needs to now follow suit. We look forward to finally having a framework in place via which our unions and European Leagues’ members will be able to increase the protections for players across Europe. We all know more is needed and we will continue to push the relevant sporting authorities – especially IFAB – to put in place the rule changes that allow us to consistently put player heath first.”
European Leagues Managing Director Jacco Swart stated: “We are glad to cooperate with FIFPRO Europe to gradually improve the standards for the management of concussions in domestic league football.
“Prevention and proper intervention procedures are key to safeguard players’ health. We will present and discuss the details of this cooperation agreement with our member leagues on the occasion of our upcoming General Assembly in London on 18 October”.
Image: Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen receives treatment during the UEFA Champions League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: 30th April 2019. Picture credit: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images