The decision to let Iranian goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand play against England after colliding head-on with a team-mate has been described as a “total disgrace” by charity Headway.
Beiranvand got his hands on a cross from Harry Kane in the World Cup opener in Doha on Monday, but in doing so he collided head-to-head with team-mate Majid Hosseini and needed treatment during several minutes.
Incredibly, Beiranvand was cleared to play despite the clash of heads leaving him with a bloody nose.
Moments later, however, the former Royal Antwerp stopper was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Hossein Hosseini.
Acting Managing Director of Headway Luke Griggs couldn’t believe what he was witnessing.
He said in a statement to the PA news agency: “It is a total disgrace that Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand has been allowed to remain on the pitch.
“It was irrelevant that he came out a minute later, he shouldn’t have stayed a second, let alone a minute.
“He was clearly distressed and unfit to continue, this seems to be another case of a decision being made by the player and not the medical staff.
“This was the first test of the FIFA World Cup concussion protocol and it was a dismal failure.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association said it was “devastating” for Beiranvand to have to retire so early in a World Cup, but added: “We have seen a clear example, on the biggest stage in the world, of current concussion protocols not being enforced under game pressure.
Fifa has yet to comment on the incident. The world governing body gives team doctors the final responsibility for deciding if a player is fit to continue.
Team doctors from the 32 competing nations attended a player health and wellbeing workshop hosted by Fifa in Qatar in July, and Fifa also shared concussion protocols with them.