Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

IFAB Approves Trials to Enhance Football Player Behavior

Wed 29 Nov 2023 | 09:48 AM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

In a significant decision during the annual meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on Tuesday, measures aimed at improving player behavior and fostering greater respect for match officials gained approval.

One notable proposal endorsed during the meeting advocates for a trial where only the team captain is permitted to approach the referee in specific game situations. 

Additionally, the assembly agreed to experiment with temporary dismissals for dissent and specific tactical offenses at higher levels, building on the successful implementation of sin bins in grassroots football.

The concept of sin bins, initially introduced to rugby union in 2001, has demonstrated effectiveness in mitigating issues related to player interactions with referees. 

In rugby, a rule dictates that only the captain can approach the referee, resulting in fewer instances of players surrounding officials.

These proposals are slated for consideration at IFAB's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March. 

If approved, the changes will be integrated into the Laws of the Game starting from July 1, 2024.

Furthermore, members of IFAB reached a consensus on advancing semi-automated offside technology to assist on-field officials in expediting decision-making processes.

The meeting also delved into strategies to address time loss in games, including tactics that disrupt the tempo, such as imposing a six-second time restriction for goalkeepers to release the ball, managing injuries, and minimizing delays in restarts.

Building on the success of a trial led by FIFA, wherein referees announce final decisions following a VAR review, IFAB is set to consider incorporating this communication measure during its AGM.

An update was provided on the ongoing FIFA-led review of the video assistant referee (VAR) protocol, emphasizing discussions with major football competitions to identify potential recommendations for amendments or trials. 

Members unanimously agreed that any measures adopted should not result in additional delays.

The meeting also explored potential clarifications for the Laws of the Game 2024/25, including a proposed amendment to Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), aligning the sanctions for handball offenses leading to penalties with those for fouls.

Lastly, members were briefed on the successful trial involving match officials wearing body cameras at grassroots levels, a measure implemented to discourage instances of serious misconduct towards match officials.