Premier League rule change backed by Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer controversially rejected

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A temporary concussion substitute trial, backed by Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, has been rejected.

Temporary concussion substitutes won’t be trialled in the Premier League next season after the request was rejected by the game’s lawmakers.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) conducted its annual meeting at Wembley on Wednesday and discussed the proposed trial put forward by the world players’ union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Forum on behalf of the Premier League, Ligue 1 and MLS.

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Those in favour of the trial believe it would offer greater protection to players against the risk of serious brain injury. However, IFAB has opted against implementing the protocol, as confirmed by FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

Bullingham said: “There were very strong and very different views in the room, and we didn’t reach a consensus. We agreed that it would remain under active review.”

The focus, Bullingham said, is improving the way the current protocol is rolled out. At present, players are assessed by medics on-field. Teams are then granted an extra substitute should that player need to depart due to a concussion.

Indeed, the current concussion protocols have come in for criticism since being introduced in 2020. Campaigners have highlighted several incidents where a player has been allowed to stay on the field before later being substituted.

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Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer.  (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer.  (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

That exact scenario happened during Newcastle United’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa in October last year, which angered Alan Shearer.

Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez collided with his own teammate Tyrone Mings after diving to keep out Joelinton’s 19th-minute shot.

The World Cup winner stayed down for a lengthy period before continuing. However, around 15 minutes later, Martinez went down again and was eventually replaced by Robin Olsen.

Shearer told Match of the Day at the time: “I’m not happy with it at all. There’s been so much talk and discussion about this. IFAB needs to change this rule and change it immediately because this is not acceptable.

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“We talk about concussion, it’s a really tough blow for Emi Martinez. It’s accidental by Mings and Martinez is down for four or five minutes getting treatment. What should happen is there should be temporary substitutions, he should be allowed to go off and be assessed for 10 minutes.

“He goes down again 10 minutes later. If he goes off and is assessed, there’s no way he’s allowed back onto the field of play like he is in this instance. It shouldn’t happen, they are failing players by not allowing temporary substitutions. He shouldn’t have been allowed to carry on.”

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