International Football Association Board

Last updated
The International
Football Association Board
IFAB logo.svg
Formation1886;133 years ago (1886)
PurposeManagement of the Laws of the Game
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Region served
Flag of England.svg The FA
Flag of Scotland.svg SFA
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg FAW
Ulster Banner.svg IFA
Flag of FIFA.svg FIFA
Lukas Brud

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competition, and has since acted as the "guardian" of the internationally used Laws. Since its establishment in 1904, FIFA, the sport's top governing body, has recognised IFAB's jurisdiction over the Laws. [1] IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the Laws of the Game. [2]

The Laws of the Game (LOTG) are the codified rules that help define association football. The laws mention the number of players a team should have, the game length, the size of the field and ball, the type and nature of fouls that referees may penalise, the frequently misinterpreted offside law, and many other laws that define the sport. During a match, it is the task of the referee to interpret and enforce the Laws of the Game.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.


It is a separate body from FIFA, though FIFA is represented on the board and holds 50% of the voting power. As a legacy of association football's origins in the United Kingdom, the other organisations represented are the governing bodies of the game in the four countries of the UK. Amendments to the Laws require a three-quarter supermajority vote, meaning that FIFA's support is necessary but not sufficient for a motion to pass.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1921

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

Countries of the United Kingdom The four countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which make up the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland, and Wales and Northern Ireland.

A supermajority or supra-majority or a qualified majority, is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for majority. Changes to constitutions, especially those with entrenched clauses, commonly require supermajority support in a legislature. Parliamentary procedure requires that any action of a deliberative assembly that may alter the rights of a minority have a supermajority requirement, such as a two-thirds vote.


IFAB is made up of representatives from each of the United Kingdom's pioneering football associations—England's Football Association (The FA), the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Northern Ireland's Irish Football Association (IFA)—and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body for football. Each British association has one vote and FIFA has four. IFAB deliberations must be approved by three-quarters of the vote, or at least six of the eight votes. [3] Thus, FIFA's approval is necessary for any IFAB decision, but FIFA alone cannot change the Laws of the Game—they need to be agreed by at least two of the UK members. As of 2016, all members must be present for a binding vote to proceed. [3]

The Football Association governing body of association football in England

The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

Scottish Football Association governing body of association football in Scotland

The Scottish Football Association is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations. It was formed in 1873, making it the second oldest national football association in the world. It is not to be confused with the Scottish Football Union, which is the name that the SRU was known by until the 1920s.

Football Association of Wales governing body of association football in Wales

The Football Association of Wales is the governing body of association football and futsal in Wales, and controls the Welsh national football team, its corresponding women's team, as well as the Welsh national futsal team. It is a member of FIFA, UEFA and the IFAB.

The Board meets twice a year, once to decide on possible changes to the rules governing the game of Football (the Annual General Meeting (AGM)) and once to deliberate on its internal affairs (the Annual Business Meeting (ABM)). In FIFA World Cup years, the AGM is held at FIFA's offices; otherwise, it rotates between Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland in that order. [3] Four weeks before the AGM, the member associations must send their written proposals to the secretary of the host association. FIFA then prints a list of suggestions that are distributed to all other associations for examination. The AGM is held either in February or March and the ABM is held between September and October. [4] In cases of necessity, the Board can meet in a Special Meeting in addition to the two ordinary annual meetings. As of December 2012, the last Special Meeting was hosted by FIFA in Zurich on 5 July 2012. [5]

FIFA World Cup Association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The decisions of each year's Annual General Meeting of the Board regarding changes to the Laws of the Game enter into force from 1 July (and are binding on FIFA and on the other members of the Board, and, given that FIFA's Statutes establish that FIFA and its member associations and affiliates adhere to the Laws of the Game laid down by IFAB, those changes bind also FIFA's other member associations, FIFA's continental confederations of member associations, and the subnational entities of the national associations) but confederations, member associations and other bodies whose current season has not ended by 1 July may delay the introduction of the adopted alterations to the Laws of the Game in their competitions until the beginning of their next season. [6] As well as permanent changes to the Laws, IFAB also authorises trials of potential amendments. [7]


The Laws of the Game in 1903 1903 Laws of the Game.pdf
The Laws of the Game in 1903

Though the rules of football had largely been standardised by the early 1880s, the UK's four football associations still each had slightly different rules. This posed a problem with international matches and when matches were played, the rules of the home team's national association were used. While this solution was workable, it was hardly ideal. To remedy this, the then football associations of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland met at the International Football Conference on 6 December 1882 in Manchester, in order to set forth a common set of rules that could be applied to matches between the UK football associations' national teams.

Irish Football Association governing body of association football in Northern Ireland

The Irish Football Association (IFA) is the governing body for association football in Northern Ireland. It organised the Ireland national football team from 1880 to 1950, which after 1954, became the Northern Ireland national football team.

International Football Conference

The International Football Confererence was a meeting of the four football associations of the Home Nations -- England's Football Association, the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) -- held at the Queen's Hotel, Manchester, on 6 December 1882. A precursor to the International Football Association Board, the meeting's major purpose was to address inconsistencies between the laws of the various associations, particularly between England and Scotland. Among the changes resulting from the conference were:

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 534,982 as of 2018. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.9 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

In the summer of 1885, the English FA legalized professionalism. The Scottish FA responded that it would refuse to allow professionals in its own national team, and would refuse to play international matches against an England team containing professionals. [8] The Irish FA attempted to mediate by proposing that "an international conference should be held each year, say, in August, to be called in turn by each national association to deal with the laws of the game, and discuss other matters of interest to Association football, and at which international disputes could be adjusted". [9]

The first meeting of IFAB took place at the FA's offices at Holborn Viaduct in London on Wednesday 2 June 1886. [10] [11] The FA, SFA, FAW and IFA each had equal voting rights.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international organising body for the sport, was formed in Paris in 1904 and declared that, regarding the Laws of the Game itself, they would enforce the rules laid down by IFAB. In 1912, FIFA requested that its representatives be included in IFAB. At a special meeting held in January 1913 in Wrexham, IFAB agreed to FIFA's request. The first regular IFAB meeting to include FIFA occurred in June 1913. Each association (including FIFA) was entitled to send two representatives, with a four-fifths majority required to change the laws (thus that the UK associations could still change the laws against FIFA's wishes if they all voted together). One more meeting of IFAB was held, in Paris in 1914, before regular meetings were curtailed by the First World War.

For the first four post-war IFAB meetings (1920, 1921, 1922, and 1923), FIFA was once again excluded, on account of a dispute between FIFA and the home nations. From 1924, once the dispute had been resolved, FIFA once again attended IFAB meetings. In 1958, the Board agreed on its current voting system.

Since Irish partition in 1921, the IFA has evolved to become the organising body for football in Northern Ireland, with football in the Republic of Ireland being organised by the FAI. A request for the FAI to become a member of IFAB was denied at the 1923 annual general meeting. [12]

List of IFAB Annual General Meetings

YearDateHostLocationVenueVotesNotes / references [13]
to amend laws
1886June 1st FA Flag of England.svg London Football Association Offices,
51 Holborn Viaduct
22220100%First meeting
1887June 1st SFA Flag of Scotland.svg Glasgow Scottish Football Association Offices,
6 Carlton Place
First meeting to amend the Laws of the Game
1888June 25th FAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Wrexham Wynnstay Arms Hotel [14]
1889June 1st IFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Belfast Commercial Hotel [15]
1890June 2ndFA Flag of England.svg LondonAnderton's Hotel [16]
1891June 2ndSFA Flag of Scotland.svg GlasgowAlexandra Hotel
1892June 13thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Llandudno Prince of Wales Hotel
1893June 10thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg BelfastHotel ShaftesburyDate of subsequent meetings fixed to be the third Monday in June.
1894June 18thFA Flag of England.svg Windermere Ferry Hotel
1895June 17thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg GlasgowAlexandra Hotel
1896June 15thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Aberystwyth White Horse Hotel
1897June 14thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Rostrevor, Newry Mourne Hotel
1898June 20thFA Flag of England.svg LondonFootball Association Offices,
61 Chancery Lane
1899June 19thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg GlasgowSt. Enoch's Station Hotel
1900June 18thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Llangollen Royal Hotel
1901June 17thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Giant's Causeway, Bushmills Royal Hotel
1902June 16thFA Flag of England.svg Scarborough Grand Hotel
1903June 15thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Ayr Station HotelDate of subsequent meetings moved to the second Saturday in June.
1904June 11thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Bangor British Hotel [17]
1905June 17thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Killarney Lake HotelFirst meeting to be held outside today's United Kingdom.
1906June 9thFA Flag of England.svg Bowness-on-Windermere Royal Hotel
1907June 8thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Oban Alexandra Hotel
1908June 19th-20thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Llandrindod Wells Rock Hotel
1909June 12thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Bundoran Great Northern Hotel
1910June 11thFA Flag of England.svg Brighton Royal York Hotel
1911June 11thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Turnberry, Ayrshire Station Hotel
1912June 8thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Aberystwyth Queen's Hotel
1913June 14thIFA Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg Portrush Northern Counties Hotel2222280%First meeting to include FIFA
1914June 13thFIFA Flag of France.svg Paris Hotel Palais D'OrsayFirst meeting held outside Britain and Ireland.
Last meeting before the First World War.
1920June 12th-14thFA Flag of England.svg Torquay Torbay Hotel22220100%First meeting after the First World War.
FIFA again excluded.
1921June 11thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Portpatrick Portpatrick Hotel
1922June 10thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg LlandudnoImperial Hotel
1923June 9thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Giant's Causeway, BushmillsCauseway HotelLast meeting to exclude FIFA
1924June 14thFA Flag of England.svg LondonFootball Association Offices,
42 Russell Square
1925June 13thFIFA Flag of France.svg Paris11 Rue de Londres
1926June 12thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg St Andrews Grand Hotel
1927June 11thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Llandudno Grand Hotel
1928June 9thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Newcastle Slieve Donard Hotel
1929June 8thFIFA Flag of France.svg Paris Fédération Française de Football Association Offices,
22 Rue de Londres
1930June 14thFA Flag of England.svg Bournemouth Royal Exeter Hotel
1931June 13thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Auchterarder Gleneagles Hotel
1932June 11thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg LlandudnoImperial Hotel
1933June 10thIFA Ulster Banner.svg PortrushNorthern Counties HotelRules amended to allow FIFA-hosted meetings to take place in "the territory of a Continental National Association", rather than being restricted to Paris.
1934June 9thFIFA Flag of France.svg Cannes Hôtel des Anglais
1935June 8thFA Flag of England.svg Shanklin Daish's Hotel
1936June 13thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Troon Marine Hotel
1937June 12thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg LlandudnoImperial Hotel
1938June 11th, 13thIFA Ulster Banner.svg PortrushNorthern Counties Hotel
1939June 10thFIFA Flag of France.svg Nice Hotel Negresco Last meeting held before World War II. A meeting was scheduled for London in 1940, but was abandoned when FIFA and IFA delegates were unable to attend.
1947June 14thFA Flag of England.svg TorquayImperial HotelFirst meeting held after World War II.
1948June 12thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Montreux Palace Hotel First meeting held outside Britain, Ireland and France.
Meeting would have regularly been hosted by the SFA, but it was unanimously agreed to accept an invitation from FIFA to host this meeting.
1949June 11thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Pitlochry Hydro Hotel
1950June 10thFAW Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg Beaumaris Bulkeley Arms Hotel
1951June 9thIFA Ulster Banner.svg PortrushNorthern Counties Hotel
1952June 14thFIFA Flag of Italy.svg Capri Morgano-Tiberio HotelDate of future meetings moved to third Saturday in June.
1953June 20thFA Flag of England.svg Eastbourne Cavendish Hotel
1954June 19thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Berne Schweizerhof HotelThe SFA agreed to forego its regularly scheduled hosting duties in order to allow FIFA to host the meeting at its 50th anniversary celebrations preceding the 1954 World Cup.
1955June 18thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg North Berwick Marine Hotel
1956June 16thFAW Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg LlandudnoImperial Hotel
1957June 15thIFA Ulster Banner.svg PortrushNorthern Counties Hotel
1958June 7thFIFA Flag of Sweden.svg Stockholm Hotel Foresta1111475%Meeting held on the day before the opening of the 1958 World Cup.
New rules adopted, with greater voting weight given to FIFA "on behalf of all other National Associations in membership with it".
Hosting rules changed to provide that "when the FIFA Congress and the World Cup coincide", FIFA should host the meeting at the World Cup venue, if practicable.
Date of meeting may be any time in June.
1959June 20thFA Flag of Jersey (pre 1981).svg St. Helier, Jersey Pomme d'Or HotelFirst of four consecutive meetings hosted by the FA outside England in the Channel Islands
1960June 18thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg St Andrews Rusack's Marine Hotel
1961June 17thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Porthcawl Seabank Hotel
1962June 23rdIFA Ulster Banner.svg NewcastleSlieve Donard Hotel
1963June 15thFIFA Flag of Italy.svg Venice Palazzo della Camera di Commercio
1964June 20thFA Flag of Jersey (pre 1981).svg St. Helier, JerseyGrand Hotel
1965June 19thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Edinburgh Caledonian Hotel
1966June 11thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg LlandudnoMarine Hotel
1967June 17thIFA Ulster Banner.svg NewcastleSlieve Donard HotelLast meeting hosted by the IFA for 13 years. The IFA withdrew from its regular hosting schedule during the 1970s owing to the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland.
1968June 15thFIFA Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Dubrovnik Hotel Excelsior
1969June 21stFA Flag of Jersey (pre 1981).svg St. Helier, JerseyGrand Hotel
1970June 27thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Inverness Caledonian Hotel
1971June 19thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Swansea Dragon Hotel
1972June 10thFIFA Flag of Austria.svg Vienna Parkhotel Schönbrunn FIFA stepped in to replace the IFA.
1973June 23rdFA Flag of Guernsey (1936).svg St Peter Port, Guernsey Duke of Richmond Hotel
1974July 9thFIFA Flag of Germany.svg Rottach-Egern Hotel Bachmair Meeting held two days after the final of the 1974 World Cup in nearby Munich.
First meeting not held in June.
1975June 21stSFA Flag of Scotland.svg AuchterarderGleneagles Hotel
1976June 18thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg PorthcawlSeabank Hotel
1977June 19thFA Flag of England.svg London Royal Garden Hotel The IFA withdrew from hosting this meeting.
1978June 1stFIFA Flag of Argentina.svg Buenos Aires Hotel Sheraton First meeting outside Europe. Held on the opening day of the 1978 World Cup.
1979June 16thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg AuchterarderGleneagles Hotel
1980June 7thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
1981June 13thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Ruthin Ruthin Castle IFAB had accepted an invitation by FIFA President João Havelange to host this meeting in Brazil, but the invitation was subsequently withdrawn, with Havelange missing this meeting for personal reasons.
1982July 6thFIFA Flag of Spain.svg Madrid Palacio de Congresos Meeting held the day after the final of the 1982 World Cup
1983July 9thFA Flag of England.svg New Milton Chewton Glen Hotel
1984June 2ndSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Turnberry, Ayrshire Turnberry Hotel
1985June 15thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near BelfastCulloden Hotel
1986May 30thFIFA Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City Camino Real HotelFirst (and, as of 2018, only) meeting in North America.
Originally scheduled to be held in Zurich, but moved to Mexico in connection with the 1986 World Cup.
1987June 13thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Llandudno Bodysgallen Hall
1988June 4thFA Flag of England.svg LondonRoyal Lancaster Hotel
1989June 7ndSFA Flag of Scotland.svg EdinburghCaledonian Hotel
1990June 28thFIFA Flag of Italy.svg Rome Hilton Cavalieri HotelHeld during the 1990 World Cup
1991June 8thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near BelfastCulloden Hotel
1992May 30thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Usk Valley, Newport Celtic Manor Hotel New rules adopted by IFAB: in future years there will be two annual meetings: the Annual General Meeting, held in February / March, and the Annual Business Meeting in September / October.
1993February 27thFA Flag of England.svg Thundridge, Hertfordshire Hanbury Manor
1994March 5thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Zurich FIFA House,
Hitzigweg 11
1995March 4thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Turnberry, AyrshireTurnberry Hotel
1996March 9thFIFA Flag of Brazil.svg Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Palace Hotel Last meeting held outside Europe (as of 2018).
Originally scheduled to be hosted by the IFA in Northern Ireland, but moved to Brazil at the instigation of outgoing FIFA President João Havelange.
1997March 1st,IFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near BelfastCulloden Hotel
1998March 6thFIFA Flag of France.svg Paris Hôtel Plaza Athénée
1999February 20thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Groesfaen, Vale of Glamorgan Miskin Manor Hotel
2000February 19thFA Flag of England.svg Taplow, Berkshire Cliveden
2001March 10thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel
2002March 16thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Zermatt Hôtel Mont Cervin
2003March 15thIFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near BelfastCulloden Hotel
2004February 28thFIFA Flag of England.svg London Claridge's Hotel Hosted in London by FIFA as part of its centenary celebrations, to celebrate the role of the four Home Associations in the development of the game. [18] [19]
2005February 26thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Groesfaen, Vale of GlamorganMiskin Manor Hotel
2006March 4thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Lucerne Palace Hotel
2007March 3rdFA Flag of England.svg Manchester Lowry Hotel
2008March 8thSFA Flag of Scotland.svg AuchterarderGleneagles Hotel
2009February 28thIFA Ulster Banner.svg NewcastleSlieve Donard Hotel
2010March 6thFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg Zurich Home of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
2011March 5thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Usk Valley, NewportCeltic Manor Hotel
2012March 3rdFA Flag of England.svg Bagshot, Surrey Pennyhill Park Hotel
2013March 2ndSFA Flag of Scotland.svg EdinburghBalmoral Hotel
2014March 1stFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg ZurichHome of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
2015February 27th - March 1stIFA Ulster Banner.svg Craigavad, Holywood, near BelfastCulloden Hotel [21] [22]
2016March 5thFAW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Cardiff St. David's Hotel and Spa [23] [24]
2017March 3rdFA Flag of England.svg Wembley, London Wembley Stadium [25] [26]
2018March 3rdFIFA Flag of Switzerland.svg ZurichHome of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
[27] [28]
2019March 2ndSFA Flag of Scotland.svg Aberdeen Marcliffe Hotel [29]

Related Research Articles

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Scoring in association football

In games of association football teams compete to score the most goals during the match. A goal is scored when the ball passes completely over a goal line at each end of the field of play between two centrally positioned upright goal posts 24 feet (7.32 m) apart and underneath a horizontal crossbar at a height of 8 feet (2.44 m) — this frame is also referred to as a goal. Each team aims to score at one end of the pitch, while preventing their opponents from scoring at the other. Nets are usually attached to the goal frame to catch goalscoring balls, but the ball is not required to touch the net.

Comparison of association football and futsal

Futsal began in the 1930s in South America as a version of association football, taking elements of its parent game into an indoor format so players could still play during inclement weather. Over the years, both sports have developed, creating a situation where the two sports share common traits while also hosting various differences.

Determining the Outcome of a Match is the 10th of the Laws of the Game of association football.


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