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So Ifab decides the rules of football – sport

It is not difficult at the moment to find people who are worried about the rules of football. Once, as recently in Hannover 96, a goal is not counted because the referee touched the ball shortly before. In Kiel, against Bochum, there was a penalty because a warm-up substitute stopped the ball in millimeter in front of the line. The coaches are now getting yellow cards and padlocks, and especially are flying over the ongoing discussions about video assistants and the rule of the manual game, about Dortmund coach Lucien Favre in the dizzying spring asked the beautiful question: "I want to know: who invented that?"

Some excitations of rules seem to sound, others rather harmful, but formally, one thing is quite simple. Handball invented, punishments and all the other rules of football in force invented an organization called International Football Association Board (Ifab), which meets again this Tuesday for an important meeting.

The gods of football

Alarm at the video umpire


157 pages include its current rule collection (including the 10-page protocol for proper use of the video assistant). All the federations of this world have submitted to IFAB as regulator, as well as to the German football federation. But how does it work, until the Ifab introduces a rule, changes or removes, is no longer as easy to understand. But one thing is true: the key issues do not go against the wishes of the President of the World Federation, Gianni Infantino.

The Ifab – a registered club with eight employees

Firstly, it is important that IFAB has only five members: the Federations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and Fifa. This is due to an unusual story: in 1886, these four British national associations united in the Ifab to agree common rules for their sport at a young age. FIFA joined the World Federation 27 years later – and has since represented all 207 other national associations in the world.

Since 2014, Ifab is a registered association headquartered in Zurich, with eight employees and an annual budget of just over one million euros – financed mainly by Fifa. . For a long time, Ifab has had a reputation for being a gathering of very conservative minds. But in recent years there have been a lot of changes in rules and experiences.

The meeting scheduled for this Tuesday is the "Annual Business Meeting", the second highest level of Ifab. At this level, the Secretary General of FIFA and the four Secretaries General of National Associations have the floor. They will discuss what the football world has been doing in recent months and what various Ifab professional committees have come up with suggestions and ideas. The current agenda includes clarifications on permanent video games and mobile handsets, but also on a possible additional player change in head injuries and player behavior in the field.

That's why a FIFA vote counts four times

This level of management and the full-time apparatus are the operational part of Ifab. You can also trigger rule experiments or intervene if a rule is applied differently than intended in the implementation – as in the substitution penalty imposed on Kiel against Bochum, which should not be repeated in this form. But they can not decide real changes in the rules, because they can only make suggestions for the highest Ifab committee: the annual meeting.

It will arrive in the first quarter of each year, the next time on February 29, 2020 in Belfast. This is where the delegations of the five organizations involved come together, usually under the guidance of their presidents. Currently: Greg Clarke (England), Kieran O 'Connor (Wales), Rod Petrie (Scotland) and David Martin (Northern Ireland), all men in the sixties – and FIFA Director Gianni Infantino, 49 years old.

Remarkably, however, is the distribution of votes. In total, there are eight votes, for a rule change, a three-quarters majority is necessary. The vote of the four national associations counts only four times, that of Fifa four times. Theoretically, it is conceivable that the World Association gives a voice to the individual members of its delegation. But in practice, this is not the case, but Fifa accepts all – and so the World Federation can prevent anything that does not suit him in the resolution of problems.

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