FIFA is facing fresh controversy at the World Cup in Qatar after Iranian goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand was momentarily allowed to play on despite suffering a serious concussion against England on Monday.
Beiranvand was involved in a sickening head clash with teammate Majid Hosseini as they defended an attacking raid from England, with the goalkeeper appearing to lose consciousness after hitting the ground and staying down.
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The 30-year-old required extensive treatment from medics on the field and could be seen with blood on his face as he lay on the ground looking very groggy.
But in staggering scenes the goalkeeper was initially given the all-clear to continue. Just one minute after medics left the field, Beiranvand once again fell to the ground and signalled to the sideline that he needed to be replaced.
He was eventually taken off on a stretcher in the 20th minute - some nine minutes after the initial blow to the head. Beiranvand was also transported to a nearby hospital for precautionary checks.
The fact that Beiranvand was initially allowed to stay on the field has caused outrage within the football community, with England legend Alan Shearer once again calling for FIFA to introduce temporary concussion substitutes.
“They’re failing players by not introducing temporary substitutions,” Shearer said on BBC's coverage.
“You’re never going to get a player saying ‘yeah I want to come off’. Clearly you could see he wasn’t fine. They’ve even introduced another medical advisor who is in the stands to look at video footage, to give advice to the medics who are on the pitch. What on earth is he doing?”
Manager Carlos Queiroz later confirmed that Beiranvand had suffered a “serious concussion”, but said there was initially some confusion as to whether there was a neurological injury.
“We thought he could keep going,” he said. “It was not clear but, one minute after, the player was not able to keep going and he suffered a serious concussion and is on the way to the hospital to have final examinations. That’s why the delay happened because there was doubt between the broken nose and the concussion.”
Luke Griggs, the interim chief executive of brain injury charity 'Headway UK', said that it was “an utter disgrace” to see Beiranvand stay on the pitch.
“It was irrelevant that he came off a minute later, he shouldn’t have stayed on for a second, let alone a minute,” said Griggs.
“He was clearly distressed and unfit to continue, this seems to be another case of the decision being made by the player and not medical staff. This was the first test of the FIFA World Cup concussion protocol and it was an abject failure.”
Kathryn Batte of The Daily Mail’s wrote: “Cannot believe Alireza Beiranvand has been allowed to continue. That is so, so dangerous."
Former player David Meyler said: "There’s no way Beiranvand should be allowed to continue after that collision. Even though he’s coming off now, he should have gone straight off", while Jermaine Jenas added: “This really is unacceptable.”
England thrash Iran in World Cup statement
Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate's team brushed off a six-match winless run to thrash Iran 6-2 with a dynamic display of attacking football. Fielding nine of the XI that started the Euros final in 2021, lost on penalties to Italy, England were impressive on Monday.
The exceptions to that Wembley starting line-up, 19-year-old Jude Bellingham and 21-year-old Bukayo Saka, were both on the scoresheet, along with Raheem Sterling, in an 11-minute first-half spell that settled Monday's match.
Saka struck again around the hour mark, followed by Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, while Iran's Mehdi Taremi scored two consolations.
"To win by that margin, to play as we did for the majority of the game, you've got to be really happy," said Southgate.
"We were a real threat throughout - but we shouldn't be conceding two goals at that stage. It is a great start, but we have to be better."
That was very hard to watch & embarrassing for the sport.
Alireza Beiranvand was VERY clearly concussed, the game was stopped for ages & despite Iran’s #1 being visibly disorientated and hurt, the medical staff allowed him to continue for another 5 mins.
Terrible 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/Ad98gEn4H9
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) November 21, 2022
Iran's Alireza Beiranvand continuing after head clash 'a joke' - Jenas
Absolutely right #JJ @BBCSport , a disgrace! Flawed and unsafe practise by all involved, if he had another #headinjury he would have had significant effects…@FIFAcom https://t.co/WBndLbgqll
— Duncan Hywel Hogg (@duncanhhogg) November 21, 2022
Beyond a joke now, get Beiranvand off.
He’s clearly not in a good way.
Poor decision from Queiroz there.
Almost reminiscent of Arrizabalaga in that Caraboa Cup Final
— Isaac Hall (@IsaacHall226106) November 21, 2022
Allowing the Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand to carry on after clashing heads with a teammate in their World Cup opener against England was an “utter disgrace”! @TheGardianNews
— Sufi (@Sufi12260482) November 21, 2022
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