PFA demands players “should not continue after loss of consciousness” as Hugo Lloris incident hits home

4 Comments

The Professional Footballers’ Association of the UK has called for new rules put in place to stop any player carrying on after being knocked unconscious.

Here, here.

On Sunday the soccer world reacted vehemently after witnessing the disturbing scenes of Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris being knocked out following a head injury but then being allowed to play on.

Lloris clearly didn’t know what was going on, as you can see from the video above, but the French ‘keeper demanded to stay on the pitch and Spurs’ medical staff let him.

Now PFA deputy chief executive John Bramhall has called for an end to this madness, and released a statement in which he believes  soccer needs to remove the decision making process when trying to assess whether a player who has lost consciousness is fit to continue a game.

“When treating a player on pitch, it can be very difficult to determine the severity of a head injury,” Bramhall said. “It is important to take the pressure off the players, club medical staff, and the manager – removing the need for them to make a very difficult decision. If anyone suffers a severe trauma to the head and loses consciousness, then they should be required to leave the field of play automatically.”

(MORE: Spurs leaving Lloris in at Goodison proves English soccer miles behind on head injuries – video)

The incident involving Lloris on Sunday was made even worse given the fact the the player he collided with Romelu Lukaku, who had also been knocked unconscious earlier this season when scoring for Everton vs. West Ham. The Belgian striker carried on, but admitted afterwards that he had no clue what had happened when he scored. And another incident involving Stoke City’s Robert Huth has acted to further show how much of a massive problem this is in Englan’s top-flight.

Included in the statement are words from the World players’ union FIFPro who labelled the decision ‘unacceptable’ as their Medical Advisor Vincent Gouttebarge said: “The health and safety of the players should be the number one priority and should prevail against any other matters.”

(MORE: Romelu Lukaku ‘can’t remember’ scoring after head injury – video)

FIFA’s guidelines also say a player should be automatically removed if there’s any doubt whatsoever about concussions. PFA spokesman Bramhall also added that his organization will try and get a change of ruling into place as soon as possible.

“The PFA will continue to work with the stakeholders within the game, to evaluate what guidelines are currently in place and to see if and how they need to be improved to provide better protection for all those involved in the game.”

In the U.S. head injuries in all sports, and particularly in soccer are taken very seriously. And having spent plenty of time playing and watching the game in both countries over the years, I’ve seen teammates in the USA succumb and retire from head injuries. Truth is, the same thing should have probably happened in English soccer circles a bunch of time… but worryingly it doesn’t. The amount of times you will hear something like, “he just got a whack on the head,” or “hopefully that will knock a bit of sense into him,” after English society in general witnesses a head injury is appalling.

The Premier League needs to bring this new guideline of automatic removal in place fast, if they do, then hopefully the rest of society will accept just how serious concussions in soccer are. Right now, as proved by the Lloris and Lukaku incidents this season, that’s not the case.

Kevin de Bruyne questionable for injury-laden Belgium

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Belgium, already without superstar Eden Hazard for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Greece, will now be without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who picked up an injury in training on Friday and will miss both the match against Greece and the subsequent friendly against Russia three days later…maybe.

The Belgian National Team official Twitter account sent out a quote from manager Roberto Martinez that confirmed De Bruyne would miss the pair of matches, but the tweet was quickly deleted.

Instead, this one was pushed out in its place, correcting his availability and also updating the type of injury:

Should De Bruyne miss out, it means Belgium would likely rely heavily on Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas for the playmaking duties, with midfielder Radja Nainggolan potentially taking on a more attacking role as well.

Belgium and Martinez also confirmed that right-back Thomas Meunier will miss out after failing to recover from an ankle injury, while Marouane Fellaini‘s status is unknown after he was held out of Thursday’s training session.

The injury also leaves De Bruyne’s status for Manchester City up in the air, with a pair of massive games in London in quick succession after the injury break. City visits Arsenal next Sunday, followed by a hop over to Stanford Bridge on Wednesday.

Landon Donovan retires again, this time for good

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After coming out of retirement last fall to join the LA Galaxy for one more shot at an MLS Cup, Landon Donovan has once again called time on his career, saying he’s certain he will not play again.

With a number of other ventures on his plate, the USMNT all-time leading scorer is looking forward to spending his time elsewhere.

“Yeah, I’m done,” Donovan said. “I’m done. No more playing for me. I have not [gone public with it yet]. But that is definitely the case.”

Donovan scored one goal in nine games for the LA Galaxy in his comeback bid, with the club ravaged by injuries and still gunning for the Cup. However, after the season was over with a loss to Colorado in the Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy confirmed it was nothing more than a short-term stopgap.

“With Landon, when he came back, it was always going to be a short-term thing,”team president Chris Klein said to the L.A. Times in December. “He’s enjoying what he’s doing and we see we’re comfortable in the direction that we’re headed.”

In January, reports claimed Real Salt Lake had offered Donovan a Designated Player contract, but it appears he’s turned it down, and will now have time to concentrate on his other ventures. Off the field, Donovan is an analyst on Fox’s soccer coverage, is on the advisory committee for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympics bid, and has joined the ownership group attempting to bring an expansion MLS team to San Diego.

Former Spurs midfielder Paulinho scores thunderbolt for Brazil

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazil topped Uruguay 4-1 to move on the verge of World Cup qualification, but there was much more to the first half of this match than meets the eye.

Uruguay went ahead 1-0 on a 9th-minute penalty won and scored by Edinson Cavani, and for a moment it seemed like the home side might find its way to pull within a point of Brazil at the top of the CONMEBOL standings. That would not last very long.

[ MORE: Full roundup of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying action ]

Just 10 minutes later, a bad giveaway near the midfield stripe saw Neymar casually feed Paulinho a good 50 yards from goal. The former Spurs man took matters into his own hands, charging forward and unleashing a vicious strike that continued to rise until it ripped the chords in the top-right corner.

 

Not only was the goal a sight to behold, it was an important moment in the match. Brazil was back level at 1-1, and Paulinho would be on his way to an eventual hat-trick with a pair in the second half. Neymar scored once as well to complete the 4-1 final scoreline, and the three points for Brazil saw them remain perfect in the World Cup qualifying round as they march seven clear of Uruguay at the top of the standings.

For Paulinho, the hat-trick brings him to four goals in the World Cup qualifying round, adding to his score in the 3-0 win over Argentina. They also mark an important moment for the Chinese Super League, where Paulinho now plays, having moved from Spurs in July of 2015. Some national team coaches have left players on the outside of the squad for moving to leagues such as the Chinese League or Major League Soccer, but Paulinho has clearly been an asset to Brazil despite his club situation. In fact, in China, Paulinho has scored four goals in his four league matches for Guangzhou Evergrande this season plus another in the Asian Champions League, leaving him in top goalscoring form coming into this international break, something which has clearly translated directly to international play.

The 28-year-old had lost his place in the national team squad in 2014, going over two years without a single international appearance, but has been a mainstay in the Brazilian side during this World Cup qualification cycle.

Dele Alli banned three European games for straight red card

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Spurs may be out of the Europa League this season, but should they end up qualifying for the Champions League next season, they will start the campaign short-handed.

Tottenham will be without midfielder Dele Alli for the first half of the group stage after his horrifying tackle on Brecht Dejaegere of KAA Gent in their 2-2 draw which saw Spurs out of the competition on aggregate in the Round of 32.

Alli went to ground on the 39th-minute challenge, and made contact on high up on Dejaegere’s leg with both his studs, finishing with a scissior-whip motion. It was a blatant red card, and now UEFA’s disciplinary committee has handed down the three-match ban. Straight-red cards for violent conduct only carry a minimum penalty of one match in UEFA tournament play, but the disciplinary committee clearly thought a longer punishment was necessary, with the ability to sentence anyone up to five matches.

The straight red was the first of Alli’s professional career. Alli apologized to Dejaejere after the match, according to the Gent midfielder. He’s since scored in four straight matches, and when asked on Sunday if that moment was still in his mind, he said, “I’m never going to say sorry for wanting to win or trying as hard as I can but things happen and you have to learn from them.”

Spurs currently sit in second place in the Premier League table with 59 points and look to be in a strong position for Champions League qualification, with a seven-point cushion on fifth-placed Manchester United.