The 131st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The IFAB will take place at Wembley Stadium on Friday, 3 March and will be chaired by Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football Association.
Following last year’s major revision of the Laws of the Game which made them easier to understand and more consistent in their interpretation and application, this year’s AGM will be asked to approve final ‘tiding up’ to assist translation and interpretation of some of the changes of the Laws of the Game introduced in 2016. This will represent the final stage of the overall major textual revision of the Laws.
The AGM will be asked to extend the “Modifications” section of the Laws of the Game to give national football associations more freedom and responsibility to modify the organisational Laws, e.g. number of substitutions and length of play, to assist with the development of their domestic football by promoting and encouraging more people to take part in the game. National football associations will be permitted to decide at which levels the modifications are applied in their domestic football, except for competitions involving the first team of clubs in the top league and senior ‘A’ international teams.
Additionally, as part of “Modifications”, the proposal to allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football for yellow card offences will be considered following tests in UEFA’s development competitions over the last three years.
On the topic of video assistant referees (VARs), the AGM will receive updates on the completion of the first phase of experiments including reports from the workshops held and more than 20 test matches organised to test the VAR protocols which were approved one year ago. The AGM will receive detailed information on the key learning areas which will be incorporated into the ‘live’ experiments which will start in almost 20 competitions from around the world in 2017.
The IFAB’s overall strategy will also be discussed., It ranges from expanding football’s philosophy of fairness to ensuring that ideas for development of the game are considered, tested and introduced in the right way and for the right reasons as well as embracing relevant and supportive technology. Central to the strategy will be even closer relationships and exchanges with football stakeholders to ensure The IFAB’s proposals and decisions relate to “what football wants”. Particular focus will be given to the role of the captain and how her/his responsibilities could be enhanced as part of a move to improve on-field discipline and create better communication between players and match officials.
Additional agenda items include an update on experiments with the Law 12 change to the punishment for some denial of a goal-scoring opportunities as well as 4th substitutes in extra time; both changes are currently being trialled.
The AGM will be asked to approve the development of the first minimum standard for electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) which will regulate the safety of devices worn by players on the field of play. The AGM will also consider allowing the use of electronic devices in the technical area, limited to treating injured players, e.g. assessing the point of contact for a head injury to determine if it could be serious.
As part of the deliberations, The IFAB will analyse feedback from its Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel, which consist of representatives from across the world of football and meet twice a year to discuss topical matters related to the Laws.
The IFAB members (the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as FIFA, representing the other 207 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 at the AGM.