Chris Sutton calls Michael Owen a ‘CAVEMAN’ as BT Sport pundits argue about concussion rules in football after Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez carried on despite head blow in Champions League tie at Benfica
- Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez picked up an injury during a clash with Benfica
- Martinez was affected by the blow but ended up finishing the 90-minute game
- Chris Sutton and Michael Owen argued about the incident on BT Sport duty
- Sutton called Owen a ‘caveman’ for disputing his views on concussion rules
An angry Chris Sutton called Michael Owen a ‘caveman’ live on BT Sport duty in a discussion involving concussion checks in football after an incident in Benfica’s clash with Ajax.
Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez clashed heads with opponent Nicolas Otamendi in the first-half of the Champions League match and appeared to be affected by the blow, but carried the 24-year-old carried on playing and finished the 90-minute game.
Days after Leeds defender Robin Koch was forced off after being told to play on with concussion against Manchester United on Sunday, Sutton argued that players need to be properly assessed in a dressing room by an independent doctor before they can carry on.
Chris Sutton (left) called Michael Owen (right) a ‘caveman’ while on BT Sport duty
The pair were discussing Lisandro Martinez not going off the pitch in Ajax’s draw with Benfica
But Owen disagreed with Sutton, who has played a large role in Sportsmail’s bid to tackle dementia over the past 12 months, which prompted the former Blackburn and Norwich forward to call him a caveman.
When asked if football needs to do more to protect players, Sutton said: ‘Absolutely. Until IFAB step up and change the concussion protocols, they are not looking after player welfare.
‘Player welfare isn’t put right within the game. You saw the horrible incident at the weekend when Robin Koch carried on after a serious head injury. Football doesn’t care. It needs to start caring.
‘He needs to come off the pitch to the sanctuary of the dressing room and get checked by an independent doctor. In the mean time, he is replaced by a temporary substitute so you are not numerically disadvantaged. It is common sense.’
Martinez was clearly affected by a clash with Nicolas Otamendi but played the whole game
When Sutton asked: ‘Why are IFAB not stepping up?’, Owen replied: ‘Because bumps and bangs on the head…’
Sutton responded: ‘Hang on a minute, concussion is a bump and a bang? How do you know that is not a concussion?’
Owen responded: ‘If you take what you say to an extreme, every time they roll around holding their leg, they have broken their leg.’
And that prompted Sutton to say: ‘Michael, that is the view of a caveman. Football needs to catch up.’
Sportsmail exclusively revealed this week that number of Premier League clubs believe that permanent concussion substitutions are not fit for purpose and that a ‘tipping point’ has been reached following the sickening head injury to Leeds’ Koch.
The row comes days after Robin Koch (right) played on while concussed for Leeds last week
A growing group – including Leeds and Chelsea – want rulemakers to instead introduce temporary replacements and feel that, under the current rules, players remain at risk.
Koch clashed heads with Scott McTominay in the 13th minute of Sunday’s clash with Manchester United at Elland Road but, after his wound was bandaged up by club medics, he controversially stayed on the pitch.
Koch was eventually substituted in the 31st minute after dropping to the ground and moving his hands in front of his face, appearing to signal to the bench that he was struggling with his vision.
The availability of temporary concussion subs, similar to those used in rugby, would allow club doctors time to make a full head injury assessment before deciding whether a player can continue.