The 131st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) will take place at Wembley Stadium on Friday 3 March 2017 and will be chaired by Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) was formed in 1886 by the England Football Association, Scotland Football Association, Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association. In the 1880s football was largely played in the United Kingdom and football rules were that time standardized. The rules of the game differed among the countries in the United Kingdom. On 2 June 1886, the England Football Association, Scotland Football Association, Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association meet in London to agree on one standardized rules of the game that will apply to them all. The 2 June 1886 meeting was the first IFAB meeting. The world football governing body FIFA was founded in Paris on 1904. After the formation of FIFA, the FIFA members declared that they shall abide by the IFAB rulings and laws of the game. The IFAB still maintains its original formation members England Football Association, Scotland Football Association, Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association but FIFA have also added 4 members to the board which means that FIFA have 50% voting rights in the International Football Association Board.
The agenda for the International Football Association Board (IFAB) 2017 annual general meeting which is the 131 edition to be held on 3 March 2017 have its agenda confirmed. The agenda could possibly lead to seven monumental changes in the rules of the game.
There was major revolution in the laws of the game last year which was the first of its kind in over 30 years. This was the major revolution made by IFAB last year:
- Revision of the Laws of the Game – 2016/2017
The AGM approved the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game undertaken by the IFAB Technical Subcommittee. This is the most extensive revision of the Laws in The IFAB’s 130‐year history. We appreciate that translating the new Law book and preparing educational material will involve a lot of work for national football associations, so to assist with this process, please note the following:
Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct: Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. One of the most important Law changes is the revision of the wording for an offence in the penalty area which denies an attacker an obvious goal ‐ scoring opportunity. As the penalty kick effectively restores the lost goal – scoring opportunity, a penalty area offence which was an attempt to play the ball or challenge an opponent for the ball will now be a caution (yellow card), not a sending off (red card). However, to preserve ‘fair play’, handball, holding, pushing, pulling, or where the defender makes no attempt to play the ball or has no possibility of playing the ball, the defender will still be sent off (red card). The AGM approved the following wording and the impact of this change will be reviewed at the 2018 AGM. “Denying a goal or an obvious goal – scoring opportunity, Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal – scoring opportunity by a deliberate handball offence the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs. Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal – scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned unless:
- The offence is holding, pulling or pushing
- The offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the player making the challenge to play the ball or
- The offence is one which is punishable by a red card wherever it occurs on the field of play (e.g.; serious foul play, violent conduct etc.) In all the above circumstances the player is sent off.”
Following the last year’s major revolution, the 2017 annual general meeting will follow up on the amendments made last year. The 7 major changes that could be made in the rules of the game include;
- Law 3 – The Players:4th substitute in extra time. The current law 3 will be considered if there can be a 4th substitution in the extra time of a game.
- Update on experiments from several competitions.
- Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment: The law 4 will be considered and there could be some electronic devices implanted in players’ equipment for tracking and communication purposes.
- Electronic Performance & Tracking Systems (EPTS)
- Electronic communication with players and the technical area:
- Proposed changes to the Laws of the Game
- Consultation with national football associations and stakeholders
- Logos on players’ equipment
- Law 5 – The Referee: Temporary Dismissals (Sin Bins). Sin Bins means that a player can be sent off in some minutes and return to the game after the suspension. There could be an orange card which means a player maybe sent off for some minutes then come back again in the match.
- Update from UEFA experiments
- Law 12 – Fouls and misconduct: Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO). Denying a goal scoring opportunity warranted a red and a penalty as well. This law was reviewed in 2016 to if is a goal scoring opportunity in the penalty box, there is a penalty without a sendoff. A review of this law will be conducted.
a. Update on experiment
- Laws of the Game 2017/18:
- Extension of modifications by national football associations. This revision if accepted will permit national associations to make changes in the laws of the game to suit their personal goals.
a. Law changes.
b. Changes to text for clarification and/or easier translation.
- Strategy 2017 – 2022: The makers of the laws of the game will deliberate on issues about how future amendments must be conducted.
a. Overall strategy for the development of the Laws of the Game
b. Criteria and timelines for evaluating proposed changes
c. Potential Law changes and tests i. The role of the captain: The role of a football captain could be redefined if this law is accepted. The captain will be given more power on the pitch to be the only person on the pitch who can confront the referee over issues.
- Video Assistant Referees Experiment (VARs): The Video Assistant referees were tested in 2016 and the tests will be evaluated and if it had positive impact on football, the football assist referees could be accepted in the laws of the game.
a. Update on protocol, testing and participants,
b. Testing and decision timelines
c. Research institute and data analysis
The current FIFA president Giovanni Infantino promised a lot of reforms which included on and off the pitch reforms. The ongoing reforms are as part of his promised reforms before the FIFA elections.
The rules of the game are the main tenants of football and if the rules of the games are altered, football will have a lot changes. Football is the beautiful and funny old game of the world with these proposed changes in the rules of game, football will be very interesting.