The advisory panels that provide expert advice to The IFAB on potential changes to the Laws of the Game met in Amsterdam, the Netherlands today to discuss some of the most hotly debated topics in football.
In a combined meeting of the Football Advisory Panel and the Technical Advisory Panel held at the Amsterdam Arena, handball was top of the agenda while the panels also received an update on the topic of video assistant referees (VARs) following The IFAB’s historic decision to allow live experiments. A workshop for leagues and associations interested in running VAR experiments is being held at the same venue this week, providing the perfect opportunity for the advisory panels to hear and experience the latest developments on the two-year project.
With regard to handball under “Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct’, the discussions centred around whether or not amendments could be made to help match officials interpret and apply the Law more consistently. This included considerations of how certain revised wordings could make the situation more “black and white” but at the same time potentially lead to more handballs being penalised.
There was also a lively dialogue about what information could potentially be communicated to and from the technical area during a match and what issues may arise from the transmission of such information, which is currently not permitted under Law 4.
“The IFAB is aware that communication systems are getting smaller, more sophisticated and more difficult to detect and that, increasingly, technical and medical staff are wanting to use tablets or other devices for tactical purposes or to try and monitor players’ health,” says Lukas Brud, Secretary of The IFAB. “This is why we requested the advisory panels to analyse the topic further. The interesting points raised today – from player welfare to sporting integrity considerations – will be subject to further discussions.”
In addition, the panels received an update on the development of a global standard for electronic performance and tracking systems and were informed by David Elleray, Technical Director of The IFAB, about the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game approved in March, which they were heavily involved with since the beginning of the project. The new Laws of the Game 2016/2017 come into force on 1 June and are available on www.theifab.com.
The meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive of The FA, Martin Glenn, given that The IFAB’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held in England in March 2017. The panels will meet once more before the AGM, which is the only time the Laws of the Game can be amended.