Schar's concussion sparks calls for Uefa probe

Switzerland's Fabian Schar unconscious after a clash of heads with Jemal Tabidze of Georgia in their Euro 2020 qualifier last Saturday.
Switzerland's Fabian Schar unconscious after a clash of heads with Jemal Tabidze of Georgia in their Euro 2020 qualifier last Saturday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Switzerland defender Fabian Schar says he cannot remember a collision that left him unconscious in a Euro 2020 qualifier last Saturday and the incident has led to calls for an investigation into why he was allowed to return to the game.

Schar was knocked out after a clash of heads with Georgia's Jemal Tabidze in the 24th minute of Switzerland's 2-0 Group D win and Georgian player Jano Ananidze rushed to his aid.

The 27-year-old recovered quickly after further treatment from Swiss medical staff, Swiss newspaper Blick reported, and was able to continue playing.

After watching a video replay of the incident, Schar said he had no memory of it.

"It looks awful. I can't remember anything," the Newcastle centre-back told Blick. "I was out for a few seconds. My skull is still humming. I've got neck ache and a bruise on my forehead, but it was worth it."

Schar, 27, has since been ruled out of Switzerland's qualifier against Denmark yesterday (this morning, Singapore time).

"I really wanted to play and, as always, give everything to the team and Switzerland," he said in a statement on the Swiss Football Association website, confirming he would be rested.

Britain-based brain injury charity Headway called on European football's governing body Uefa to investigate the incident.

Protecting players from concussion is part of a growing debate in sport. Global players' union FIFPro earlier this month criticised how professional football deals with concussion, while pointing out failings in current protocols.

"How many more players will have their careers... and lives and long-term health put at risk by the sport's inability to follow its own protocols?" the BBC quoted Headway chief Peter McCabe as saying.

"Put simply, the decision to allow Fabian Schar to return to the field of play after suffering a clear concussion was not only incredibly dangerous, but also a clear dereliction of duty. The player's comments after the match are also deeply disturbing and again show the lack of awareness and understanding among players.

"Uefa must immediately launch an investigation into the incident."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Schar's concussion sparks calls for Uefa probe'. Subscribe