The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the guardian of the laws of the game, has agreed to the deployment of two additional assistant referees at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine next summer. This follows a request by UEFA to the IFAB to continue the experiment at the tournament.
The IFAB – which comprises the Football Association (FA), the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the Irish Football Association (IFA) and world football's governing body, FIFA – gave the green light at its 125th annual general meeting in Newport, Wales, on Saturday, as part of ongoing experiments aimed at helping match officials in taking decisions. The UEFA EURO 2012 finals take place over 31 matches between 8 June and 1 July next year.
"A presentation was also made to the IFAB on the continued additional assistant referees' experiment," said a FIFA statement, "and the IFAB approved that the implementation of the AARs during the EURO 2012 competition in Poland and Ukraine should be part of the experiment phase."
The experiment with additional assistants involves – as well as the match referee and two assistant referees on the touchline – two extra assistants positioned behind the goal line with the mission of focusing on incidents that happen in the penalty area, such as fouls or misconduct.
Following a decision by the IFAB last July, additional assistant referees are being deployed at matches in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League this season and in 2011/12, and in the 2011 UEFA Super Cup.
Trials with two additional assistant referees were first performed in UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying tournaments in autumn 2008. Subsequently, the IFAB gave permission for the tests to be continued at professional level, and the experiment was implemented in the UEFA Europa League in the 2009/10 season after being endorsed by FIFA and the IFAB.
The IFAB was founded in 1886. Each of the four British associations has one vote apiece, while FIFA, which represents its 204 other member associations, has four. A three-quarter majority is required for any proposal to be passed.
In other decisions, the IFAB has agreed to a one-year extension of goal-line technology tests, and said that in relation to Law 4 – Players' Equipment – the wearing of snoods should not be permitted. Click here to read the full statement on the IFAB meeting.
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