Infantino: We have taken a historic decision

Published on 17 March, 2016 
By: Mark Williams


The International Football Assocation Board (IFAB) convened in Cardiff for its 130th Annual General Meeting, with topics from video assistant referees (VARs) to the so-called 'triple punishment' of a red card, penalty and ban for denying a goalscoring on the agenda.

Also up for discussion was the use of a fourth substitution during extra time and the use of sin bins in youth football. Following several hours of discussion, the findings of the panel were relayed in a press conference, which was streamed live on Here we highlight some of the key quotes.

Gianni Infantino, FIFA President:
Today we have taken a historic decision for football. IFAB and FIFA are now leading the debate and not stopping the debate. We have shown that we are listening to the fans, to the players, to football and we are applying common sense. Of course, we have to be cautious and we are, but we are also open to looking at the matters and take concrete steps forward to show that a new era has started not only in FIFA but also in IFAB.

I think we cannot close our eyes to the future, to technology. They are big tests that we are doing here and we have to be very careful when it comes to protecting the game of football and the flow of the game is crucial. We have to see what kind of impact video technology will have on the flow of the game which we can never put in danger. In order to be able to have serious discussions about these matters we need to test it. We need to look at it and then we will be able to take a decision on whether it is the right thing for football or not. We have to be open to tests and leading the discussion.

On the two year trial for the 'triple punishment' Law 12 alteration:
If the goalkeeper or defender in the penalty area genuinely and honestly tries to challenge for the ball then there will not be a red card any more, only a yellow card. For other instances, violent play or pulling or pushing which has nothing to do with getting the ball, there will still be a red card and a penalty. It will come into effect on 1 June, for UEFA EURO 2016 and the Copa America Centenario it will already be in effect.

Stewart Regan, Scottish FA CEO:
The Scottish Cup would be a competition we would be interested in. It is a very exciting opportunity for football and there are a number of us who have been keen to move technology forward in football for some time and we have finally done that today. We have made a major decision for the world of football.

We’ve had around 13 expressions of interest from those who wish to participate. There needs to be clear lines of communication between a referee and a video assistant. That means we need to put in place a training programme to make sure that when we go live, both parties know exactly what to expect because this is a fundamental change to how we run the game of football. The use of friendly matches is a really good area to try and introduce testing.

Jonathan Ford, Welsh FA Chief Executive:
In what has been a long history (of the IFAB) this has probably been one of the most fundamental and historic meetings that this board have had the pleasure of meeting for.
Sin bins was discussed, it’s still at an experimental status. It’s UEFA that are carrying those out. We see that at a youth basis for behavioural correction rather than a permanent sending off and changing the game completely.

Patrick Nelson, Irish FA Chief Executive:
What we want to do is make sure that IFAB remains in control of the trials. We know that there have been quite a number of leagues and associations who have already expressed a request to be involved in this. We don’t want to go into it in a half-hearted way so we do want to take our time to make sure that every experiment that we approve is exactly what IFAB want and we feel that it is good for football.

Martin Glenn, CEO of the FA:
It’s the practical application of technology that is difficult. Does it disturb the fundamental simplicity of football? We need to test it first before we take it live. We’re very happy for our respective competitions to be involved. The limiting factor for proper video assisted refereeing will be how many cameras are there at a game? There aren’t going to be 30 cameras in the first round of the FA Cup.

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