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Soccer Union Calls for Concussion Protocol After World Cup Flap

The World Footballers’ Association called on soccer’s governing body to investigate why Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira was allowed to remain in yesterday’s World Cup game after possibly suffering a concussion.

The organization known as FIFPro said in a statement it’s seeking “urgent talks” and “immediate assurances” that FIFA can guarantee the safety of players.

“The World Cup must set the standard for player health and safety to educate the international football community,” the union said in the statement. “Football is awash with incidents in which players suffer potentially concussion blows to the head and stay on the pitch.”

Pereira lay motionless on the field after taking a knee to the head during his team’s 2-1 win over England. The defender then made his way to the sideline, where he argued with trainers and remained in the game.

“FIFPro understands that, in certain moments, faced by the pressures of such an important international stage, many players would react in this way,” it said in the statement. “There are times, however, when the players also require greater protection against the prospect of making any rash decisions.”

FIFA’s concussion protocol is headlined “Recognize & Remove,” and states that any athlete with a suspected concussion should be immediately taken out of play.

The union suggests appointing independent medical personnel for all future FIFA competitions. FIFPro also wants a review of rules to allow a team to temporarily substitute a player with a suspected concussion. Players currently can’t return after being substituted.

The union said it would monitor Pereira’s health. Uruguay’s next game is June 24 against Italy.

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