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FIFA ignoring a 'ticking time bomb'

FIFPro has accused FIFA of "playing with lives" by allowing players to return to the pitch during the World Cup despite showing signs of concussion.

- Marcotti: FIFA must do better with concussions

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano appeared concussed after a clash of heads with Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum in Wednesday's semifinal but went on to play the full 120 minutes.

And Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira continued after being knocked out by the knee of England's Raheem Sterling before seeming to overrule doctors who were calling for his substitution.

FIFA guidelines say a player with signs of concussion should be withdrawn, but FIFPro, the world players' union, has warned that the governing body is ignoring a "ticking time bomb."

FIFPro spokesman Andrew Orsatti told The Times: "They have something on paper that's very pretty, but it's not enforced because it is only a guideline that is being enforced by team physicians.

"It is instructive in other sports that there has to be a clear separation to remove any potential vested interests where a team physician could be pressured by the clock or the manager to return a player too quickly.

"You cannot ignore that we are playing with lives based on the new evidence that has come to light. It is a ticking time bomb. The governing bodies have the power to take back the initiative to introduce an independent protocol.

"Unfortunately, you are seeing a lack of education across the board where players are being celebrated for returning to play after these instances.

"It is an antiquated view, and it is an antiquated view that FIFA adopts. Do we need something unbelievably drastic to occur before people wake up to the reality?"

FIFA, however, said it does not make the final decisions, stating: "In terms of the FIFA World Cup specifically, it is the responsibility of each team doctor and any support staff in their team whether or not a player can continue playing."

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