The 129th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) will take place this weekend in Northern Ireland. But what is The IFAB? And what will they be discussing? FIFA.com has created this simple FAQ guide to help you learn more about the guardians of the Laws of the Game.
Who are The IFAB?
The IFAB consists of representatives from the UK’s four football associations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and four representatives from FIFA. Each member enjoys the same voting rights, with a three-quarters majority required for a motion to be passed.
Why is The IFAB structured the way it is?
The original IFAB was the brainchild of the English FA, who met with the Welsh, Scottish and Irish FAs for the first time on 2 June 1886 to draw up a uniform code at a time when each country used different rules for the game. With The FA joining FIFA in 1906, world football’s governing body became a member of The IFAB in 1913. January 2014 marked a new era for the The IFAB as it officially became 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. This also led to the formation of two new advisory panels (Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel) consisting of experts from across the world of football who now support The IFAB with greater expertise before decisions are passed. The new panels met for the first time in November 2014.
What do The IFAB actually do?
The IFAB discuss and decide on proposed changes to the Laws of the Game at their AGM. Any football association or continental confederation can suggest amendments to the Laws through one of The IFAB members. The IFAB AGM meetings take place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in strict rotation, as well as at locations decided by FIFA in FIFA World Cup™ years.
What laws have been changed in the past?
The offside law is the most discussed, and perhaps the most altered, in the history of the game. Initially, three players had to be between the ball and the goal, which was reduced to two in 1925. This was altered again in 1990, to make the attacker onside if level with the penultimate defender, before another change in 2005. Other notable amendments in the modern era have seen the outlawing of goalkeepers handling deliberate back-passes (in 1992), making the fierce tackle from behind a red card offence (in 1998) and the introduction of Goal-Line Technology (in 2012).
What’s on the agenda at this year’s AGM?
The introduction of the two new advisory panels has contributed to some interesting proposals from across the world of football.
The items up for decision this year include:
- The possibility of a fourth substitution in extra time
- A decision on the “triple punishment” (Law 12) of sending off, penalty and suspension
- The potential use of electronic performance and tracking systems
- A proposal for greater flexibility in the use of substitutions in grassroots/recreational football
Other items to be discussed but not decided on include:
- The potential use of video replays to support match officials
- Law 12 with regard to handling the ball
- A proposal in relation to the public display of the official match time
- The use of “sin bins” in recreational youth football