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Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand playing on after a clash of heads at the World Cup is “unacceptable”, says ex-England midfielder Jermaine Jenas.
The 30-year-old was eventually taken off on a stretcher and replaced.
“I don’t see how him carrying on is right. I think it’s a joke,” said Jenas on BBC One’s World Cup coverage.
“It’s 2022 and we are having so many discussions about concussion protocols. That’s why these protocols are in place. This is not OK.”
Beiranvand received medical treatment after clashing heads with teammate Majid Hosseini in the penalty box, before appearing to tell Iran’s medical team he wanted to play on.
However, he looked visibly dazed and had a bloody nose, and eventually signaled that he needed to come off.
“Beiranvand shouldn’t be on the pitch now. It’s almost as if he’s been forced to carry on here,” said Jenas.
“It’s just really unacceptable. It doesn’t matter how important Beiranvand is to [Iran manager] Carlos Queiroz.”
England defender Harry Maguire was quickly taken off after being assessed for concussion in the second half when the Three Lions were 4-1 up.
This is the first time at a World Cup that is permanent concussion substitutions have been permitted in addition to the five standard replacements.
Teams are allowed one permanent concussion substitution per match, and a host of new measures have been introduced to improve player safety, including independent assessors at games.
Concussion spotters – experts who can monitor from seats in the stands and identify possible brain injuries that may have been missed – have been introduced. Team doctors also have instant access to video replays.
Former England forward and BBC pundit Alan Shearer said: “Ifab [the International Football Association Board – football’s rulemakers] are failing the players. This game is being beamed all over the world in front of millions of people.
“They have to bring a temporary substitution rule in because he should be off the pitch or receiving his treatment, then the [substitute] goalkeeper can come on. He can be assessed for 10 to 15 minutes and clearly he was never in a fit state.
“You’re never going to get the player saying they want to come off. The players will say they are fine. Quite clearly he was not fine.
“They’ve even introduced another person – a medical adviser in the stands – to look at video footage and give advice to medics who are on the pitch. What on earth is he doing?”
A Fifa spokesperson said: “The health of all individuals involved in the World Cup is a key priority.
“If there is a suspicion of a concussive injury at any stage, Fifa encourages all team doctors to remove the player from the match or training session and assess and treat them appropriately.
“The aforementioned protocol was implemented today in relation to Iran’s player Beiranvand.
“While the ultimate responsibility in terms of concussion diagnosis and management lies with the relevant team doctor, Fifa expects all teams to act in the best interests of their players and their health.”
Matthew Upson, a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live’s World Cup coverage, said: “It seems like a ludicrous protocol that has been followed. How can he continue? It has taken so much time in the game as well and is just slowing everything down .”
Luke Griggs, interim chief executive of brain injury charity Headway UK said: “This was the first test of the Fifa World Cup concussion protocol and it was an abject failure.”
Earlier this month, the Professional Footballers’ Association renewed calls for temporary concussion substitutions and said the current protocols “jeopardise player safety”.
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