Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE International Football Association Board (Ifab) has announced some changes in football laws that will see, among other amendments, a coach being sanctioned for an offence committed by an unidentified team official.
Another key change is that the ball will now be deemed to be out of play if it touches the referee, remains in play and a team starts a promising attack; the ball goes directly into the net or the team in possession of the ball changes. Play will resume with a drop ball.
These and other changes that will come into effect on June 1 were announced during Ifab’s 133rd annual general meeting in Aberdeen, Scotland, in March this year.
“A number of changes to the laws of the game for 2019/20 were approved which follow the principal aims of the ‘play fair’ strategy; improving player behaviour and increasing respect, increasing playing time and making the game fairer and attractive,” wrote Lukas Brud, the Ifab secretary.
He said all changes are compulsory for friendly matches and competitions starting on or after June 1, 2019.
“Competitions which start before June 1, 2019 may implement them or delay their implementation until no later than the start of the next competition,” wrote Brud.
The meeting considered feedback from two years of experiments with law changes, which have the potential to improve the image of the game and reduce the time lost to substitutions and goal-kicks.
Players being substituted must leave the field at the nearest point on the boundary line unless the referee allows the player to leave quickly or immediately at the halfway line.
“The current dropped ball procedure is unsatisfactory as it often leads to confrontation or a ‘manufactured’ restart which is exploited unfairly like kicking the ball out for a throw in deep in the opponents’ half.
“The new procedure is for the dropped ball to be uncontested, it will be dropped for only one player and all other players must remain at least four metres away.
“Play will then continue as normal, that is the ball is not given back to the opponents,” reads the Ifab circular.
If play was stopped when the ball or the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the defending team goalkeeper.
In all other cases, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the place where it was last touched.
The Ifab first met on June 2, 1886, in London, in an event attended by two representatives each from the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh associations.
The Ifab soon became established as the guardian of the unified laws of the game and tasked with preserving, monitoring, studying and amending football rules.
To this day the laws of the game can only be changed by the Ifab.
Laws of the game changed significantly over time.
The penalty kick and goal nets were introduced in 1891. Between 1896 and 1899 it was agreed that each team should have 11 players on the field; that a match is to last for 90 minutes and that the field ought to have the dimensions it still retains today.
Integration was formalised as Fifa joined the Ifab as a full member in 1913.
In the newly restructured body, Fifa was given the same voting power as the original four associations put together.