World Cup officials have been criticised after Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was kept on the pitch after suffering a heavy blow to the head during his side’s match against England.
Beiranvand came off his line to punch a cross from Harry Kane early in the match in Qatar but collided with one of his own defenders before falling to the ground.
The goalkeeper received medical treatment but had a bloodied nose and clear concussion symptoms.
After indicating that he wanted to stay on the pitch, play was allowed to restart but Beiranvand continued to look distressed and then signalled to his bench that he could not continue.
Iran manager Carlos Quieroz had his head in his hands over the loss of a key player before sending on replacement Hossein Hosseini.
Head injuries in football are meant to be treated with caution, with players removed from action as soon as possible and a “concussion substitution” not counted towards a team’s permitted number of changes.
FIFA protocols detail signs for medical staff to look out for, and advise that in non-emergency situations a player should be removed from the pitch and assessed before being substituted if concussion is suspected. A concussed player would then be expected to sit out games for 10 days as a precaution.
The incident provoked widespread criticism and concern that the goalkeeper’s safety appeared to have been sacrificed in an attempt to keep a key player on the pitch.
BBC pundit and former England international Jermaine Jenas said: “It seems like he’s being forced to stay on, it’s ridiculous. It’s the responsibility of the medical team to make the call, make the decision.
“We’re at a major tournament in 2022, constantly talking about concussion in the game and the long-term affects with dementia and this happens. It’s out of order.”
Former Celtic player Chris Sutton tweeted: “Football’s concussion procedures are an embarrassment. Where is the if in doubt sit it out procedures… I’ll say it again the football authorities do not care about their players…”
The treatment time led to 14 minutes of addition time being added to the first half, with goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling putting England 3-0 up.