MLS will participate in FIFA’s concussion program
Major League Soccer will participate in FIFA's concussion substitute pilot program ahead of the 2021 season as part of prioritizing player’s safety.
The 2021 MLS season is set to start on 17 April as the league celebrates its 26th anniversary. For the upcoming campaign MLS will participate in FIFA's concussion substitute pilot program.
The league made the announcement on Monday and now teams will have up to two substitutions during a match to replace players that have or suspsected to have suffered from concussion, regardless of the number of substitutions the team has already used.
Continuing its efforts as a leader in player safety, U.S. Soccer will implement concussion substitutions in 2021.— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) April 5, 2021
The new rule allows teams to make two concussion substitutes to replace players with head injuries, regardless of the number of substitutions already used.
MLS statement regarding this new measure
In 2021, MLS will continue to allow a maximum of five substitutions in a maximum of three opportunities throughout the match. These will be known as "normal" substitutions. Any substitutions made during halftime (or between regulation and extra time or between the two halves of extra time in playoffs) will not be counted towards one of the three opportunities.
Above and beyond the five "normal" substitutions in three opportunities, each team will be permitted to make up to an additional two "concussion substitutions" when there is a suspected/possible concussion.
These two "concussion substitutions" are permitted regardless of how many "normal" substitutions or opportunities have already been used. When a "concussion substitute" is used, the opposing team then has the option to use an "additional" substitute and an additional substitution opportunity for any reason which may or may not be used at the same time as the opposing team’s "concussion substitution".
A team’s "additional" substitute can only be used after the team has used all its "normal" substitutes or "normal" substitution opportunities. At the "additional" substitution opportunity, only the "additional" substitute may enter the game. If the team has used all its "normal" substitution opportunities but has not used all five of its "normal" substitutes, the team is not permitted to use any remaining "normal" substitutes at the same time as the "additional" substitution opportunity.
If the two teams make a "normal" or an "additional" substitution at the same stoppage, both teams will be charged an opportunity. If a team makes a "normal" or an "additional" substitution at the same stoppage where a "concussion substitution" is being made, that team will be charged an opportunity.
Once a team has used all its "normal" substitution opportunities, it cannot use a "concussion substitution" opportunity to make a "normal" substitution.
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