FIFPro is calls on FIFA to conduct a thorough investigation into its own competition concussion protocol which failed to protect Uruguayan footballer Alvaro Pereira during the World Cup match against England on Thursday, June 19.

The World Footballers’ Association is seeking urgent talks and immediate assurances that FIFA can guarantee the safety of the players, which must be priority number one, for the remainder of this tournament and beyond.
In the absence of that, FIFPro is considering alternative solutions such as independent medical practitioners appointed by FIFPro for all future FIFA competitions.

FIFPro also calls for a review of the laws of the game so that a player with a suspected concussion can be temporarily replaced whilst being diagnosed.
FIFPro will be monitoring the health of Pereira over the course of today. He must be subjected to further evaluation and follow-up procedures that help determine if and when he can return to training.

Any further information obtained by FIFPro will be made available in due course
The World Cup must set the standard for player health and safety to educate the international football community. Medical evidence shows that a person faces the risk of very serious brain injury, or worse, if he or she suffers a severe head trauma from a concussive blow.

Football is awash with incidents in which players suffer potentially concussive blows to the head and stay on the pitch. In Pereira’s case, he demanded to play on, overruling advice from Uruguay’s team physician for him to be immediately substituted.

FIFPro understands that in certain moments, faced by the pressures of such an important international stage, many players would react in this way. There are times, however, when the players also require greater protection against the prospect of making any rash decisions.

Furthermore, FIFPro states any sideline concussion assessment must not be conducted solely by a national team physician. In order to ensure real independence, FIFPro’s involvement, as the international authority representing the interests of the players, would ensure they are insulated at all times.

FIFPro’s Chief Medical Officer DR. Vincent Gouttebarge (PHD) identified the following points as the basis for an effective concussion policy:

  • The development of a monitoring system to assure and control the application of the Zurich 2012 concussion guidelines
  • The systematic completion of a standardised and valid sideline examination (cognitive and physical) on any player suspected to have suffered concussion
  • The presence of an independent medical professional on the sideline during competition matches to assess a player with suspected concussion
  • The possibility to replace (temporarily substitute) any player undergoing the sideline examination
  • Enforcement mechanism to ensure proper application when procedures are not followed to protect the health and safety of the players
  • The introduction of a baseline reference, pre-competition examination (cognitive and physical) which allows important comparisons to be made with any eventual sideline examinations performed as a consequence of a suspected concussion.