The media conference that followed the Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in London on Saturday 28 February 2004 was chaired by FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi in the presence of the General Secretaries of the four British associations, David Bowen (Northern Ireland), David Collins (Wales), Mark Palios (England) and David Taylor (Scotland).

Mr Urs Linsi began by applauding the "very positive" meeting and drew attention to the fact that members of FIFA’s Executive Committee had exceptionally been invited to attend as observers. The following points were covered, in response to questions from journalists:

-Ways to bring matches to a close
-Artificial turf surfaces
-Cautions handed out to players who remove their shirts after scoring a goal
-The number of substitutes allowed for friendly matches
-The extension of the half-time interval from 15 to 20 minutes

Issue: Ways to bring matches to a close when the rules of a competition stipulate that there should be a winner.
Decision: As of 1 July 2004, when matches are tied they will be followed by extra-time, consisting of two periods of a maximum of 15 minutes each and, where necessary, penalty kicks. The ‘golden goal’ and ‘silver goal’ are therefore abolished.

David Taylor (Scotland)
We needed to clarify this point with a simple system. Today, some games are decided by golden goals, others by silver goals….why not bronze goals while we’re about it? FIFA consulted associations the world over and it became clear from this consultation that they prefer to return to extra-time, followed by penalties.

Urs Linsi (FIFA)
This new Law will come into application on 1 July 2004. As for the UEFA European Championship in Portugal, the Final of which is to be played on 4 July 2004, it goes without saying that as the competition will have begun before the new Law comes into being, its rules will not change.

David Collins (Wales)
The point was made that a team could score straight from kick-off without their opponents touching the ball. It is not, therefore, a step back.

Mark Palios (England)
People say that penalties are unjust, but with the golden and silver goal, a team can win the game before the second half of extra-time, without the two sides having the chance to change ends, which is not very fair.

Issue: Approval of artificial surfaces for pitches in official competitions.
Decision: In official competition, matches can now be played on artificial turf as well as natural turf, providing this is allowed for in the official rules of the competition and that the surface meets FIFA quality standards.

Urs Linsi (FIFA)
It was formally agreed today that as long as the rules of an official competition allow it, and provided the surface conforms to FIFA quality standards, artificial turf pitches will be authorised for official competitions.

Issue: Should a player who takes off his shirt to celebrate a goal be cautioned?
Decision: Any player who takes off his shirt to celebrate a goal will be sanctioned.

José Maria Garcia Aranda (Responsible for refereeing matters at FIFA)
This decision should not be seen from a purely aesthetic perspective, because in some situations and some countries, this gesture can be considered as provocation, notably for the fans of the opposing team.

David Bowen (Northern Ireland)
We took this decision to make things clear for players and referees alike. It remains to be seen how the new Law will be applied and whether players should be cautioned who put their shirt over their head or keep the sleeves on. That is still to be clarified.

Issue: The number of substitutions in a friendly match
Decision: The number of substitutes allowed for a friendly match is limited to six.

Mark Palios (England)
Of course we know the position of our coach (Ed: Sven-Göran Eriksson is opposed to limiting the number of substitutes) but democracy prevailed at the meeting -especially as IFAB made a gesture in increasing the number from five to six.

Issue: Extension of half-time from 15 to 20 minutes
Decision: The amendment was rejected

Urs Linsi (FIFA)
Extending half-time was more of a commercial than a sporting initiative. That is why the proposal was rejected.