The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will, under the chairmanship of the Irish Football Association , be holding its 111th Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 1 March 1997 (09.30) at the Culloden Hotel in Craigavad, Northern Ireland and discussing possible steps to speed up the game.

FIFA has submitted an item for discussion by the Board, namely, an extension of the back-pass rule in conformity with Law XII , 5 (c). Another point to be debated in this connection is whether mandatory instructions should be issued to the referees to ensure that the four-step rule defined under Law XII , 5 (a) and (b) is strictly adhered to and to give them the chance to intervene if a goalkeeper retains possession of the ball longer than a specific period of time.

The Board is due to consider and approve a revised and more comprehensible version of the Laws of the Game. Drafted by a sub-committee, the amendments represent a major improvement in terms of wording and layout.

Moreover, the Board is to discuss a request submitted by the French Football Federation for permission to conduct an experiment enabling the referee to resort to video back-up at an international match.

NOTE: A Reuters wire service report dated February 21 indicating that FIFA has approved the French Football Federation request to conduct the above experiment is completely incorrect and should be disregarded.

The International F.A. Board comprises the four British associations of England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland as well as FIFA. FIFA has four votes while the British associations have one vote each. For an amendment to be accepted a three-quarter majority is needed. Amendments are to be effective from 1 July following the Annual General Meeting.