Chelsea, FIFA


By Kc Emmanuels

October 19, 2014

Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois may have made a quick recovery from the head injury he sustained during Chelsea versus Arsenal clash at Stamford Bridge earlier in the month to return to action for Belgium’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Andorra and Bosnia and Herzegovina but his latest ordeal is set to impact FIFA regulation with regards to players’ safety during its future events.

Courtois was substituted in the 24th minute of the match after colliding with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in the 10th minute. Chelsea and officials of the match were criticism for allowing the player to continue for another ten minutes with many fearing the player may have suffered a concussion.

FIFA have received a lot of backlash for awarding the 2022 World cup to Qatar bearing in mind the climatic condition of the Oil rich nation within the period the tournament is set to take place. Many have suggested the tournament be held in the winter because of the soaring heat in the summer but those ideas have been rebuffed by many top European nations claiming the change will have an adverse effect in its various leagues.

If FIFA is going to hold the tournament in the summer of 2022 in Qatar then, players’ health and safety have to be on its top priority list. FIFA must find a way to improve the way medical staff assesses injuries. They must find a way to deal with complicated head injuries like the one of Courtois where it was thought he was fit to play after a clash with Alexis Sanchez but proved unable to continue after a few minutes.

Many European leagues have started developing regulations that allow special privilege and preference to be giving to medical staff to access a player suspected to have had concussion and decide if the player can continue play irrespective of club manager’s opinion. And it is expected that FIFA adopts a better legislation for the treatment of head injuries.

Clubs in the past have been criticised for poor handling of situations where a player is suspected to have sustained a head injury. Tottenham Hotspur were berated by the league management for allowing their keeper Hugo Lloris to continue play after suffering a concussion against Everton last season.

The Courtois case has raised more concern on players’ safety with FIFA set to make a series of changes to improve the security of the players’ health. FIFA will also look into the issue of time in which medical staffs can address injuries as misdiagnosis could be dangerous.

FIFA is expected to make players’ safety health wise top of its priorities going into future tournaments especially the Qatar 2022 world cup which many believe the condition in Qatar at that time of the year will not be the best for player’s health.

Host Qatar have promised the construction of stadium fitted with cooling systems but questions still remain over the proposal with many asking if streets and outside of the stadium will also be artificially cooled, as world cup goes beyond people who gather in stadiums to watch match.