PFA call for Premier League rule change after scenes at Newcastle United against Aston Villa

The Premier League have been urged to do more to protect players following events during Newcastle United’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa at St James’s Park over the weekend.

During the first half, with the score at 0-0, Villa goalkeeper Emiliano suffered a blow to the head after clashing with team-mate Tyrone Mings. The Argentine remained down for an extended period before briefly continuing only to go down again and be forced off.

Aston Villa were criticised for not taking the goalkeeper off following the initial head injury and the Premier League want answers as to why the player was allowed to continue.

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Villains interim manager Aaron Danks said after the defeat: “We’ve got a very professional medical staff who assessed him and he was okay to continue.

Aston Villa's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (R) receives medical attention after suffering a knock during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 29, 2022. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

“Obviously things changed and there was a delayed onset of something that meant he had to come off.”

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer heavily criticised the decision on Match of the Day as he said: “If he goes off and he’s assessed, there’s no way that he’s allowed back on the field of play, like he is in this instance. It shouldn’t happen. They’re failing players by not allowing temporary substitutions to come on.

“He shouldn’t be allowed to carry on in that instance anyway because there is the wording, ‘if in doubt, sit them out’. There has to have been a doubt there when the doctor and the physio are assessing him but they should be able to take him off for ten minutes and assess him, look at him, and quite clearly he wasn’t fit to carry on.”

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And the Professional Footballers’ Association backed Shearer’s calls for temporary substitutions in the event of a suspected concussion.

Premier League rules currently state that teams can make two permanent concussion substitutions in addition to their five allotted changes during the match. But once a substitution is made, the player going off cannot return to the field.

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The PFA’s head of brain health, Dr Adam White, said: “Put simply, the current laws of the game are jeopardising player health and safety.

“Permanent substitutions do not allow medical teams to assess a player with a potentially serious brain injury in an appropriate environment. The rules as they are create an extremely challenging situation and offer no support to medical personnel.”