Premier League concussion substitutes trial to start on 6 February

Burnley's James Tarkowski getting on-pitch treatment by doctors after suffering a head injury

The Premier League will trial the use of concussion substitutes from Saturday, 6 February.

The new rule means up to two permanent substitutions can be made in the event of head injuries, even if all replacements have already been used.

Opposition teams will also be able to make an additional “normal” substitution at a time of their choice.

The first match of the trial is scheduled to be the 12:30 GMT kick-off between Aston Villa and Arsenal.

It will run until the end of the 2020-21 season but can be extended into the 2021-22 campaign.

The trial will also be held in the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship from the same date, and in the men’s FA Cup from the fifth round on 9-11 February.

The Premier League will be the first league in men’s football to introduce concussion substitutes, having formally approved the trial during a shareholders’ meeting last week.

Fifa, football’s world governing body, will also trial substitutions for actual or suspected concussion at the Club World Cup in Qatar, which starts on 4 February, though teams will only be able to make one substitution per match.

The International Football Association Board, the body that makes and approves the laws of football, approved the trials of concussion substitutes at a meeting in December.

There have been growing calls for their introduction amid concern over links between head injuries in football and dementia.

England 1966 World Cup winners Nobby Stiles and Jack Charlton, who both died last year, had dementia, while Sir Bobby Charlton’s family recently revealed he had been diagnosed with the disease.

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen explained in December how he had felt the effects of a concussion he sustained playing for Spurs for the following nine months.

Some football associations have already banned heading in children’s games or training, while the Professional Footballers’ Association – the players’ union – is setting up a task force to look at the issue.

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