It was a landmark day in the 127-year history of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on Monday as a signing ceremony in Zurich marked the beginning of a new era for the board as an autonomous organisation.
The IFAB – the body in charge of acting as the guardian of the Laws of the Game – is now officially registered as an independent association under the Swiss Civil Code, with its own statutes that define the purpose, structure and responsibilities of the board and its bodies.
During the meeting at the Home of FIFA, the founding members of the IFAB were named as: The Football Association (represented by Chairman Greg Dyke), the Scottish Football Association (represented by President Campbell Ogilvie), the Football Association of Wales (represented by President Trefor Lloyd Hughes), the Irish Football Association (represented by President Jim Shaw), and FIFA (represented by FIFA President Blatter).
The Board of Directors was confirmed to include Jérôme Valcke (FIFA Secretary General), Jonathan Ford (Chief Executive of the FAW), Alex Horne (General Secretary of The FA), Patrick Nelson (Chief Executive of the IFA) and Stewart Regan (Chief Executive of the SFA) – all of whom were also in attendance.
The foundation meeting marked a significant step in the IFAB reform process, run in parallel with FIFA’s own governance reform process, which has included a detailed and thorough review of IFAB processes.
Another key change is the introduction of two new advisory panels – a Technical Panel and a Football Panel – which will include different stakeholders from across the world of football to support the IFAB with greater expertise before decisions are passed. This will improve the consultative process, with the panel members providing a wider understanding of how football is being played globally. The composition of these panels will be confirmed at the next Annual General Meeting on 1 March 2014 in Zurich.
An executive support office is also being introduced, which will be the administrative arm of the IFAB led by the secretary of the board who will report to, and act on behalf of, the Board of Directors. This office, with its headquarters in Zurich, will be dealing with all administrative matters of the IFAB and will also be the main contact for the board.
Additionally, in order to enhance the independence and improve the understanding of the Laws of the Game and all processes involved, the IFAB will launch its own website, where all documents will be available and the reasoning behind IFAB decisions will be published.
Meanwhile, the voting procedure will remain the same, with the British members having one vote each and FIFA, representing the remaining 205 associations, holding four votes. For a decision to be passed at the AGM, a 75% majority is required.
Any member association can suggest amendments to the Laws of the Game through one of the IFAB members, who are responsible for proposing matters to be discussed at the AGM.