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The global association of soccer players lamented the open defiance of FIFA’s concussion protocol during the World Cup. In a statement, FIFPro said the incident involving a player from Morocco is another alarming example of a player being put in harm’s way.
Morocco winger Nordin Amrabat suffered a concussion after his head clashed with defender Vahid Amiri before hitting the ground in their showdown against Iran on Friday. Amrabat was hospitalized for one day and looked like he will be out of commission against Portugal, as FIFA guidelines state that concussed players should not return for six days.
Amrabat says he cannot remember what happened in his World Cup debut.
“Five, six hours, gone. Totally gone,” Amrabat said, adding that he’s a little bit scared while thinking about it.
Amrabat’s return to the starting lineup did not make a difference as Portugal cruised to a 1-0 win behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth goal of the tournament. With its second loss in the group stage, Morocco was officially eliminated from the World Cup. Portugal, for its part, is tied for the Group B lead with Spain with four points each.
Amrabat Included in Starting Lineup
One day after he was discharged, it was expected that Amrabat will not play against Portugal, based on FIFA’s concussion protocol. However, everyone was surprised when Amrabat was on Morocco’s starting lineup on Wednesday. Amrabat started with a protective helmet on, which he later removed as the match progressed.
After the game, Amrabat admitted that he defied doctor’s orders by playing against Portugal. However, Amrabat is hoping that he had not inflicted himself with any long-term damage with his decision to return to action prematurely.
According to FIFPro, Morocco’s move was a clear violation of the guidelines, as Amrabat returned to action too soon. The association lamented that four years after the debacle of the last World Cup, there was no sufficient progress when it comes to the implementation of the concussion protocol.
FIFA Wants Morocco To Explain
Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, says he will ask Morocco to explain its decision to allow Amrabat to play. However, D’Hooghe admitted that getting an explanation was the best thing FIFA could do.
“FIFA has no authority over this. We produce the guidelines but it is the team doctors who make the decision,” said D’Hooghe. Team manager Herve Renard, for his part, defended his decision to include Amrabat in the starting lineup, calling him a warrior. Renard added that he’s not a doctor, so he cannot understand medical matters.
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