IFAB agree to broaden consultation process
© FIFA.com

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) under the chairmanship of the Scottish FA President Campbell Ogilvie, convened for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today (Saturday, 2 March 2013) at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today’s meeting was the 127th AGM since the IFAB was formed in 1886. Today’s meeting also marked the centenary of FIFA’s participation as a member of the IFAB.

Following the IFAB being asked to ‘self-reform’ as part of FIFA’s governance reform proposals at the FIFA Congress 2011, a lengthy and detailed review has taken place, involving the four British Associations, and FIFA. Whilst the IFAB composition will remain unchanged, it was agreed that greater levels of consultation with the game are required to inform and improve decision-making, and provide greater transparency. A presentation was made to the six Confederation general secretaries in Zürich on 26 February and this will be presented to the FIFA Congress 2013 in Mauritius on 30-31 May.

To improve consultation, the IFAB agreed to the formation of two new advisory panels: a Technical Panel – comprising Refereeing experts from across the globe - and a Football Panel, composed of approximately 20 former players and coaches, current coaches, FIFPro and Confederation technical directors. 

To provide greater transparency, the proposals also include additional executive secretarial support, with a unit reporting to FIFA’s Secretary General. This will include a distinct IFAB identity through an external web platform, detailing all minutes, timelines for decisions, progress on consultation or pilots, and the rationale for the rejection of any proposals.

The IFAB also received an update on the goal-line technology (GLT) project, since the historic decision to approve its introduction at the IFAB Special Meeting on 5 July 2012. Today’s meeting agreed that the decision whether to allow replays of goal-line incidents for broadcast purposes and/or on stadium giant-screens, is to be made independently by individual competition organisers.

Also on the subject of GLT, the IFAB agreed each competition organiser should have the autonomy to decide whether they wish to use GLT in individual matches, or all matches of a tournament.

Amongst the items for discussion was the usage of electronic performance monitoring systems. The Board agreed to form a consultation group, comprised of medics, coaches, former players and IFAB Technical Sub-Committee members to review this matter further.

In relation to the Laws of the Game, IFAB approved a clarification of the wording of Law 11 (Offside, Interpretation of the Laws of the Game). The IFAB agreed that the current wording is not precise enough, regarding “interfering with an opponent/gaining an advantage.” The new approved wording can be found in the agenda on FIFA.com (see link below).

Brief reports were also provided on Additional Assistant Referees, and the decision approved last year related to Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment) with regards to the headscarf – to allow a trial, non-mandatory period – the IFAB reiterated that a final decision will be made at next year’s Annual General Meeting.

Finally, a proposal to review Law 8 (The Start and Restart of Play “Dropped Ball”) was postponed for further consultation, with a new proposal to be presented at the 2014 Annual General Meeting. An agreement was also made to form a working group to review the full Laws of the Game to improve clarity where appropriate.

Amendments to the Laws of the Game taken today by the IFAB come into effect on 1 July 2013.

The 128th Annual General Meeting will take place in Zürich, Switzerland on 28 February - 2 March 2014.