IFAB meeting in Zürich

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) – the guardians of football's laws – has approved changes to provisions in the Laws of the Game on players' equipment.


Changes to stipulations on players' equipment in football's Laws of the Game have been approved by the game's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), at its 128th annual general meeting in Zürich.

The IFAB, comprising world football's governing body FIFA and the four British national associations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – gave the green light to a modification to the interpretation of Law 4 on players' equipment, specifying the provisions by which male and female players can now wear head covers.

After a two-year pilot, the IFAB agreed that there was no indication as to why the wearing of head covers should be prohibited, as long as certain design restrictions are respected.

Another clarification of Law 4 stipulates that both compulsory equipment and under-garments must not have any kind of slogans, statements or images. "Previously, what a player could reveal on any item of basic compulsory equipment was different to what he or she could wear on an undergarment," a FIFA statement said. "The IFAB therefore approved the clarification in order to have a consistent approach that is also easier to regulate." Modifications to the Laws of the Game made by IFAB at the Zurich meeting come into effect on 1 June this year, and also take into account the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Further discussions are to be held on proposals to remove the red card given for any offence denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity inside the penalty area – the so-called 'triple punishment'. "It was decided," FIFA said, "that the [technical and football] advisory panels should consider the matter to analyse how Law 12 might be further clarified."

With respect to the use of 'sin bins' in recreational youth football, "the IFAB agreed that the experiments may continue, under the control of the IFAB," the statement said, "and that the advisory panels should further deliberate on the matter."

The IFAB also debated the potential use of video replays for match officials. "The IFAB remains of the view," the statement said, "that technology should be allowed only for goal-line incidents, since it is a clear yes or no decision. Concerns were raised about video replays slowing the game down and increasing the number of stoppages."

Other issues which the advisory panels will further discuss include "rolling substitutes", aimed at bringing about greater flexibility in the use of substitutions in amateur/recreational football, and the issue of electronic performance and tracking systems, pertaining to players wearing chips or other small devices that can monitor player performance.

Plans are also in motion to revise the structure and format of the Laws of the Game, including a glossary to help clarify the wording in the laws. The IFAB will appoint a group to carry out the revision work.