The agenda for the Annual Business Meeting of the International Football Association Board (The IFAB), which will take place on Thursday, 7 January 2016 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, is now available on www.theifab.com.
The ABM acts as a preparatory meeting for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) – the only forum in which changes to football’s Laws of the Game can be made. The IFAB has been the independent body responsible for debating, defining and amending the Laws since 1886.
Video assistance for match officials, which is not currently permitted in football, is one of the items on the ABM agenda. It follows on from discussions at the bi-annual meetings of two new advisory panels – the Football Advisory Panel and the Technical Advisory Panel – that were set up in 2014 to support The IFAB with greater expertise before decisions are passed. The IFAB has been working on potential scenarios and clear protocols for how it could be tested, with the idea that well-run experiments would be the best way to understand the pros and cons of video assistance in full.
Another important topic at next month’s ABM will be the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game in terms of structure, layout, terminology, phrasing and consistency. The aim of the revision is to increase the universality and acceptance of the Laws by making them easier to understand and interpret. The new format is expected to be included in the 2016/2017 edition, subject to the approval of the AGM in March.
Feedback from the advisory panels will help The IFAB when deliberating on a number of other items at the ABM, including “triple punishment”, the use of “sin bins” and “Law 3 – The Number of Players” in terms of potentially allowing a fourth substitute in extra time or temporary substitutions for injuries that require momentary treatment.
The IFAB will also receive an update on the ongoing process to introduce a FIFA Quality Programme for electronic performance and tracking systems, while initial discussions will be had on referee hand signals as well as on considerations related to unsporting behaviour by players and coaches on and off the field of play.
The ABM will be chaired by Jonathan Ford, Chief Executive of the Football Association of Wales, as the 130th Annual General Meeting is set to take place in Cardiff from 4 to 6 March 2016.
Members of The IFAB (the four British football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as FIFA, representing the other 205 national associations) take turns to host the AGM in rotation. Any amendment to the Laws of the Game requires a majority of six out of eight votes.