The International Football Assocation Board (IFAB) convened in Belfast for its 129th Annual General Meeting, with topics from fourth substitutions to video replays on the agenda.
Also up for discussion was the so-called triple punishment of a red card, penalty and ban for denying a goalscoring Following three and a half hours of discussion, the findings of the panel were relayed in a press conference, which was streamed live on FIFA.com. Here we highlight some of the key quotes.
Patrick Nelson, Chief Executive of the IFA:
On the triple Punishment: We did agree that this is too harsh and that we must find a solution to the matter. There was a proposal from UEFA, including a yellow card instead of the red card. That was rejected today. We agree that the automatic suspension could be removed in the future. FIFA’s disciplinary and legal committee will look at the automatic suspension of a player and how to implement that for offences inside the penalty area.
On return substitutions: We made a ground-breaking decision to allow return substitutions in the grassroots of the game. It is in recreational football only, and not the highest level of football in your country. The pilot was done at level 11 in England and it will be a matter for each association to decide what level it operates.
On fourth substitution in extra time: This will get further analyses. Three is an adequate number, but we want further consideration from the panels. There is no compelling rationale to increase it to four as yet.
On tracking systems: IFAB agreed in principle to tracking systems, provided the data is not used during the game.
On video to support officials: There was extensive discussion including feedback from the Football and Technical Advisory panels. This topic should continue to be discussed in more detail. We are aware of Dutch experiments and their findings were part of the discussion. IFAB took the view that we would prefer further consideration from the advisory panels
Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General:
On video to support officials: It is not a rejection, we are just saying that what came out of the two panels is definitely not clear. There was no agreement within the two panels on the use of video. We have not just talked about the issue of video in terms of yes or no, do we like it or not like it, is it going against the game or not, against the referee or not. It was the level of discussion where we all understood what it would mean the day we would say yes to video. If you say yes to the video in the penalty area, it’s yes to the video during the whole game. It would take a few months or a year. It’s the biggest decision that would come out from the IFAB, ever. And that’s why it’s not a question of years, it’s about making the biggest decision ever in the way football is played.
Jonathan Hall, Director of Football Services at The FA:*
On video to support officials:* We had a good debate. We personally have seen the Dutch data and find it interesting, but at this stage we need the panels to have a further look because it will be a very big decision and we need to get it right.
On return substitutions: The pilot was very much at grassroots. What it has done is drive great participation and we have seen some very healthy numbers, driving people back into the game who may not have carried on playing.
Jonathan Ford, Chief Executive of the FAW:
On video to support officials: Technology has increased and we have a role to assist the referee, but this would make a fundamental change to the game and we need more information.
Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the SFA:
On video to support officials: The referee is already wired up and in communication with other on the field. The Scottish FA would have supported another experiment, but that was not shared across IFAB. There are two areas of fear: Creep, i.e. how much further do you allow technology to influence referee decisions, and if there is creep, the fear that the referee will defer too often to the man in the van to hold up play.
On return substitutions: We should not underestimate the importance of this decision today. To allow coaches to bring on substitutes on a return basis, rather than sitting on the side of the pitch on a cold Saturday or Sunday morning will make a great difference to grassroots football.