Football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has agreed to broaden consultation within football to help the body's decision-making process.
The IFAB, which comprises world football's governing body and the four British national associations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – met for its 127th annual general meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday.
"Following the IFAB being asked to 'self-reform' as part of FIFA's governance reform proposals at the FIFA Congress 2011," a statement said after the meeting, "a lengthy and detailed review has taken place, involving the four British associations, and FIFA.
"Whilst the IFAB composition will remain unchanged, it was agreed that greater levels of consultation with the game are required to inform and improve decision-making, and provide greater transparency. A presentation was made to the six confederation general secretaries in Zurich on 26 February, and this will be presented to the FIFA Congress 2013 in Mauritius on 30 and 31 May."
As a means of improving consultation, the IFAB agreed to the formation of two new advisory panels – a technical panel containing refereeing experts from across the world, and a football panel composed of approximately 20 former players and coaches, current coaches, plus FIFPro and confederation technical directors.
The IFAB also received a report on the additional assistant referee system, which was incorporated into the Laws of the Game as a result of a decision by IFAB last July. The system is now being deployed by UEFA in its major club competitions, as well as in several national league and cup competitions across Europe, following its successful deployment at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The system, designed to help referees in their decision-making, sees two additional assistant referees standing on either goal line to watch in particular for penalty-area incidents. The IFAB also received an update on the goal-line technology project. With respect to goal-line technology, the board agreed that each competition organiser should have the autonomy to choose whether they wish to use goal-line technology in individual fixtures or all matches of a tournament.
In relation to the Laws of the Game, the IFAB approved a clarification of the wording of Law 11 on offside and interpretation of the Laws of the Game. The board agreed that the current wording is not precise enough, regarding "interfering with an opponent/gaining an advantage." This amendment to the Laws of the Game comes into force on 1 July 2013.
A report was also given on Law 4 relating to players' equipment with regard to the headscarf – to allow a trial, non-mandatory period – and the IFAB reiterated that a final decision will be made at next year's annual general meeting. A proposal to review Law 8 (start and restart of play: "Dropped Ball") was postponed for further consultation, with a new proposal to be presented at the board's 2014 annual general meeting.
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