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Premier League and FA to change substitution rules following IFAB recommendations

English Premier League, the FA cup, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship will all modify their substitution regulations from next week. The new regulation will be implemented following the recommendations of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the apex law-making body in football. The changed law will allow teams to make two concussion substitutions, in addition to the three regular substitutions. The changed rule will come to effect on the 6th of February when Aston Villa host Arsenal in the first game of that round of fixtures. The same rule will be applied in the FA cup from the 5th round.

Concussion has been a regular incident in the history of football. At times, external manifestations and immediate symptoms will be absent for a concussion. Due to the same, players will continue in the game. This causes a delay in availing treatments and it can lead to fatal consequences. A typical incident was reported back in 1896 March when Teddy Smith of Bedminster FC had taken a severe knock to the head. The player managed to stay on the pitch for a while before getting substituted but passed away the very next day. The latest incident occurred back in 2013 May when Al Salibikhaet FC player Mohammed Fahad collided with an opponent and suffered from intracranial haemorrhage. He was in a coma for a month since the incident, before passing away on the 17th of June.

The PL match between Manchester United and Southampton on the 14th of July, last year reminds the need for concussion substitutes. Manchester United were leading the game for 2-1 and had already made two substitutions shortly before Luke Shaw started limping. The manager had no other choice but to use the last substitute. Brandon Williams who replaced Shaw suffered a concussion a few minutes after coming to the pitch. Solskjaer was forced to take out the player immediately. The Red Devils had to continue playing with 10-men and eventually conceded a goal that cost them 2 points, which were crucial in the top 4 race.

EPL and WSL clubs have welcomed the new regulation, and expect it to contribute towards the safety and better health of their players.

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