LONDON/ZURICH:  Progress on a standardised interpretation of what constitutes handball was reported by the International Football Association Board’s football and technical advisory panels in London.

The panels were introduced in 2014 to bring a wider range of expertise and views into IFAB’s decision-making process and the meeting was chaired by Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.

A statement said:

After feedback on the main changes in Laws of the Game for 2018/19, reports were given on the ongoing experiments with substitutes having to leave the field of play at the nearest boundary line, yellow and red cards for team officials as well as goal kicks and defending team free kicks taken inside the penalty area. The members were very positive about these proposals and supported the related Law changes. 

The Advisory Panels had a detailed and constructive discussion on how the handball Law could be improved to clarify what constitutes handball and consequently, to ensure a more consistent application of the Law. 

Initial discussions were also held on other possible changes or experiments relating to improving the game by increasing fairness and attractiveness, improving behaviour and increasing respect and increasing playing time.

While a number of proposals were recommended for consideration at the forthcoming Annual Business Meeting (ABM), the proposal that The IFAB was asked to consider relating to banning substitutions in additional time did not receive any support from The IFAB, FIFA or the Panel members.

Video Assistant Referees (VARs) was the final item on the agenda; the meeting was presented with the key results from the experimental phase and the current use of VARs around the world and how the Implementation Assistance and Approval Programme (IAAP), overseen by FIFA and The IFAB, supports competitions intending to use VARs.

The meeting ended with FIFA’s summary of the successful use of VARs at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia, which included key statistics and learnings from the competition.

The views of the panels will be shared at the ABM which is scheduled for 22 November 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland and will inform the discussions at that meeting.

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