Allowing Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand to carry on after clashing heads with a teammate in their World Cup opener against England was an “utter disgrace”, according to brain injury charity Headway.
Beiranvand tipped away a cross but immediately collided with Majid Hosseini, resulting in the goalkeeper requiring treatment from the national team’s medical staff for several minutes on the pitch.
Despite the fact Beiranvand had a bloodied nose – and clothing – and looked disorientated, he was permitted to carry on. Moments after the restart, however, the goalkeeper sunk to turf and signaled to the bench that he needed to be substituted, with Hossein Hosseini belatedly replacing him.
Luke Griggs, Headway’s interim chief executive, was shocked by what he witnessed. He said in a statement issued to PA Media: “It is an utter disgrace that the Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand was allowed to stay on the pitch. It was irrelevant that he came off a minute later, he shouldn’t have stayed on for a second, let alone a minute. He was clearly distressed and unfit to continue, this seems to be another case of the decision being made by the player and not medical staff. This was the first test of the Fifa World Cup concussion protocol and it was an object failure.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association added: “We have seen a clear example, on the world’s biggest stage, of the current concussion protocols not being applied under match pressure.”
Team doctors have the final responsibility to decide if a player is fit to continue or not. The doctors of all 32 competing nations attended a seminar in Qatar, where they worked through Fifa’s concussion protocols.