Head of FIFA Refereeing Massimo Busacca speaks at the IFAB advisory panel meeting

© FIFA.com

LONDON: The two panels set up to advise The International Football Association Board (IFAB) on potential changes to the Laws of the Game  have met in London this week.

The Football Advisory Panel and the Technical Advisory Panel met at the Sofitel Hotel London Heathrow for meetings on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including proposals to amend Law 3 to allow a fourth substitution and the potential use of video replays to support match officials.

These items, as well as other matters such as handling the ball, the use of “sin bins”, the interpretation of the offside law and the use of electronic performance and tracking systems had been referred to the panels following the recent annual general meeting (AGM) of The IFAB in Northern Ireland on 28 February 2015.

To kick off the discussions on video replays, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) gave a presentation on trials they have been conducting offline – meaning no communication between the video assistant and the match officials, and therefore no influence on any live match. Based on the information received from the KNVB, the panels discussed this as just one idea on how video replays could be used to assist match officials.

The topic of allowing a fourth substitution, as well as the offside rule – in particular with regard to players interfering with play – were also debated extensively.

Opinions varied within the panels as well as between the panels. For instance, the Football Advisory Panel looked at matters more from the players’ and teams’ perspectives while the Technical Advisory Panel assessed the technical details and possible issues in terms of the impact that the implementation of any changes would have for the referees.

The objective of the panels is to support The IFAB with greater expertise before decisions on the Laws of the Game are passed. Having already met for the first time in Belfast in November 2014, the panels consist of stakeholders from across the world of football, including former players, coaches and referees, as well as confederation, association and league representatives and FIFPro (see full list below).

This week’s panel meetings were chaired by the Chief Executive of the FA of Wales, Jonathan Ford, since The IFAB’s next AGM will be held in Cardiff, Wales, on 4-6 March 2016. The AGM takes place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in strict rotation, as well as locations decided by FIFA in years when the FIFA World Cup™ is held.

The panels will meet again in October before their feedback is presented to The IFAB later this year during their annual business meeting – a working meeting during which topics are discussed and can be put forward to the AGM. Amendments to the Laws of the Game can only be made during the AGM, with the decisions of the board binding on confederations and member associations.

Football Advisory Panel
Anthony Baffoe (Ghana), Gijs de Jong (Netherlands, KNVB), Shaka Hislop (Trinidad & Tobago), Christian Karembeu (New Caledonia), Ioan Lupescu (Romania), Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan), Wynton Rufer (New Zealand), Richard Jobson (England, FIFPro), Andreas Rettig (Germany, DFL)

Technical Advisory Panel
Neale Barry (The FA), Jean-Paul Brigger (FIFA), Massimo Busacca (FIFA), William Campbell (Irish FA), Lim Kee Chong (Mauritius), Pierluigi Collina (UEFA Head of Refereeing), Sonia Denoncourt (CONCACAF Head of Refereeing), David Elleray (England), Ray Ellingham (FA of Wales), John Fleming (Scottish FA), Mark Hester (OFC Head of Refereeing), Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay, FIFA Referees Committee), Yoshimi Ogawa (AFC Head of Refereeing), Manoel Serapião Filho (Brazil)