IFAB approves extension of additional assistant referees experiment
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The International FA Board (IFAB) convened in Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland today for its 123rd Annual General Meeting (AGM).

After having received a report on the experiment involving additional assistant referees conducted during UEFA U-19 European Championship qualifying tournaments in October and November 2008, the members of the Board gave permission for the continuation of FIFA's experiment with additional assistant referees, this time in a professional league.

Regarding Law 11 (Offside), the wording of the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines has been amended to clarify the situation where a defending player leaves the field of play placing an attacking player in an offside position. The new wording reads as follows: "Any defending player leaving the field of play for any reason without the referee's permission shall be considered to be on his goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage of play."

In order to avoid unnecessary conflicts between fourth officials and coaches or other occupants in the technical area, the Board agreed that, provided they behave in a responsible manner, one person be permitted to remain in the technical area and no longer be required to return to their position on the bench after conveying tactical instructions.

Another item discussed at today's meeting relates to kicks from the penalty mark. The procedure has been clarified regarding the players participating in kicks from the penalty mark if one team has a greater number of players than their opponents at the end of the match. In such a situation, the Laws of the Game now state that this team must reduce their numbers to equate with that of their opponents. In order to clarify further the process, the following wording has been added: "Any player so excluded may not participate in kicks from the penalty mark."

Other items
- FIFA withdrew its proposal to extend the maximum duration of the half-time interval
- the Board agreed that the proposal to increase the maximum number of substitutions in the event of extra time should be discussed by the relevant FIFA committees
- the IFAB agreed that its technical sub-committee will discuss the procedure that applies when players leave the field of play after treatment
- it was agreed that the concept of "Sin Bins" would not be pursued further
- Law 1 has been updated to reflected the change of designation to the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf

Next year's IFAB Annual General Meeting will take place from 5 to 7 March in Zurich (Switzerland).

About IFAB
Founded in 1886, the IFAB is composed of The Football Association (England), The Scottish Football Association, The Football Association of Wales, The Irish Football Association (Northern Ireland) and FIFA, and has historically held the position as guardian of the Laws of the Game. Each British association has one vote apiece, while FIFA, which represents its 204 other member associations, has four. A three-quarter majority is required for any proposal to be passed.