The International Football Association Board (IFAB) convened for its Annual Business Meeting (ABM) at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Tuesday, aided for the first time by two new advisory panels set up to help bring fresh ideas to the table with regard to the Laws of the Game.  

The inaugural meetings of the Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel on 24 and 25 November marked an important step in the 129-year history of the IFAB as experts from across the world of football were given a platform to directly voice their views on matters relating to the Laws.

Stakeholders at the confederation, Member Association and league level, as well as a representative of FIFPro, provided the IFAB with different perspectives on a range of challenging topics including the so-called “triple punishment” rule, Law 12 with respect to handling the ball and the use of electronic performance monitoring systems. 

Another item on the agenda was the matter of video replays for match officials. The IFAB discussed different approaches on this topic and decided to continue the debate at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Also based on feedback from the panels, progress was made in relation to defining a new provision to allow rolling substitutions for recreational football, after the resounding success of two separate pilot programmes run by The Football Association and The Scottish Football Association. A decision is expected at the AGM. 

The IFAB were in support of the recommendation by the FIFA Medical Committee and others with regard to the three-minute break for concussions but decided there was no need to incorporate it into the Laws of the Game.

The aim of the ABM was to further discuss and analyse ideas for potential changes to the Laws of the Game, which can then be put forward to the following AGM – the only time when amendments to the Laws can be made. This included the use of “sin bins” in recreational youth football and Law 11 – Offside, which are all expected to be discussed at the next AGM.

Aside from the matters discussed over the past two days, there is still the possibility for members of the IFAB or any of FIFA’s Member Associations to submit new ideas for proposed alterations, requests for experimentation or any other items for discussion at the next AGM by the deadline of 1 December 2014. The 129th IFAB AGM will take place in Belfast between 27 February and 1 March 2015.