International Football Association Board
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. IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the Laws of the Game.
|Purpose||Management of the Laws of the Game|
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. As well as permanent changes to the Laws, IFAB also authorises trials of potential amendments.
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.
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. 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".
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.
List of IFAB Annual General Meetings
|Year||Date||Host||Location||Venue||Votes||Notes / references|
to amend laws
|1886||June 1st||FA||Football Association Offices,
51 Holborn Viaduct
|1887||June 1st||SFA||Scottish Football Association Offices,
6 Carlton Place
|First meeting to amend the Laws of the Game|
|1888||June 25th||FAW||Wynnstay Arms Hotel|
|1889||June 1st||IFA||Commercial Hotel|
|1890||June 2nd||FA||Anderton's Hotel|
|1891||June 2nd||SFA||Alexandra Hotel|
|1892||June 13th||FAW||Prince of Wales Hotel|
|1893||June 10th||IFA||Hotel Shaftesbury||Date of subsequent meetings fixed to be the third Monday in June.|
|1894||June 18th||FA||Ferry Hotel|
|1895||June 17th||SFA||Alexandra Hotel|
|1896||June 15th||FAW||White Horse Hotel|
|1897||June 14th||IFA||Mourne Hotel|
|1898||June 20th||FA||Football Association Offices,
61 Chancery Lane
|1899||June 19th||SFA||St. Enoch's Station Hotel|
|1900||June 18th||FAW||Royal Hotel|
|1901||June 17th||IFA||Royal Hotel|
|1902||June 16th||FA||Grand Hotel|
|1903||June 15th||SFA||Station Hotel||Date of subsequent meetings moved to the second Saturday in June.|
|1904||June 11th||FAW||British Hotel|
|1905||June 17th||IFA||Lake Hotel||First meeting to be held outside today's United Kingdom.|
|1906||June 9th||FA||Royal Hotel|
|1907||June 8th||SFA||Alexandra Hotel|
|1908||June 19th-20th||FAW||Rock Hotel|
|1909||June 12th||IFA||Great Northern Hotel|
|1910||June 11th||FA||Royal York Hotel|
|1911||June 11th||SFA||Station Hotel|
|1912||June 8th||FAW||Queen's Hotel|
|1913||June 14th||IFA||Northern Counties Hotel||2||2||2||2||2||80%||First meeting to include FIFA|
|1914||June 13th||FIFA||Hotel Palais D'Orsay||First meeting held outside Britain and Ireland.|
Last meeting before the First World War.
|1920||June 12th-14th||FA||Torbay Hotel||2||2||2||2||0||100%||First meeting after the First World War.|
FIFA again excluded.
|1921||June 11th||SFA||Portpatrick Hotel|
|1922||June 10th||FAW||Imperial Hotel|
|1923||June 9th||IFA||Causeway Hotel||Last meeting to exclude FIFA|
|1924||June 14th||FA||Football Association Offices,
42 Russell Square
|1925||June 13th||FIFA||11 Rue de Londres|
|1926||June 12th||SFA||Grand Hotel|
|1927||June 11th||FAW||Grand Hotel|
|1928||June 9th||IFA||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|1929||June 8th||FIFA||Fédération Française de Football Association Offices,
22 Rue de Londres
|1930||June 14th||FA||Royal Exeter Hotel|
|1931||June 13th||SFA||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1932||June 11th||FAW||Imperial Hotel|
|1933||June 10th||IFA||Northern Counties Hotel||Rules amended to allow FIFA-hosted meetings to take place in "the territory of a Continental National Association", rather than being restricted to Paris.|
|1934||June 9th||FIFA||Hôtel des Anglais|
|1935||June 8th||FA||Daish's Hotel|
|1936||June 13th||SFA||Marine Hotel|
|1937||June 12th||FAW||Imperial Hotel|
|1938||June 11th, 13th||IFA||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1939||June 10th||FIFA||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.|
|1947||June 14th||FA||Imperial Hotel||First meeting held after World War II.|
|1948||June 12th||FIFA||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.
|1949||June 11th||SFA||Hydro Hotel|
|1950||June 10th||FAW||Bulkeley Arms Hotel|
|1951||June 9th||IFA||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1952||June 14th||FIFA||Morgano-Tiberio Hotel||Date of future meetings moved to third Saturday in June.|
|1953||June 20th||FA||Cavendish Hotel|
|1954||June 19th||FIFA||Schweizerhof Hotel||The 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.|
|1955||June 18th||SFA||Marine Hotel|
|1956||June 16th||FAW||Imperial Hotel|
|1957||June 15th||IFA||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1958||June 7th||FIFA||Hotel Foresta||1||1||1||1||4||75%||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.
|1959||June 20th||FA||Pomme d'Or Hotel||First of four consecutive meetings hosted by the FA outside England in the Channel Islands|
|1960||June 18th||SFA||Rusack's Marine Hotel|
|1961||June 17th||FAW||Seabank Hotel|
|1962||June 23rd||IFA||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|1963||June 15th||FIFA||Palazzo della Camera di Commercio|
|1964||June 20th||FA||Grand Hotel|
|1965||June 19th||SFA||Caledonian Hotel|
|1966||June 11th||FAW||Marine Hotel|
|1967||June 17th||IFA||Slieve Donard Hotel||Last 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.|
|1968||June 15th||FIFA||Hotel Excelsior|
|1969||June 21st||FA||Grand Hotel|
|1970||June 27th||SFA||Caledonian Hotel|
|1971||June 19th||FAW||Dragon Hotel|
|1972||June 10th||FIFA||Parkhotel Schönbrunn||FIFA stepped in to replace the IFA.|
|1973||June 23rd||FA||Duke of Richmond Hotel|
|1974||July 9th||FIFA||Hotel Bachmair||Meeting held two days after the final of the 1974 World Cup in nearby Munich.|
First meeting not held in June.
|1975||June 21st||SFA||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1976||June 18th||FAW||Seabank Hotel|
|1977||June 19th||FA||Royal Garden Hotel||The IFA withdrew from hosting this meeting.|
|1978||June 1st||FIFA||Hotel Sheraton||First meeting outside Europe. Held on the opening day of the 1978 World Cup.|
|1979||June 16th||SFA||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1980||June 7th||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|1981||June 13th||FAW||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.|
|1982||July 6th||FIFA||Palacio de Congresos||Meeting held the day after the final of the 1982 World Cup|
|1983||July 9th||FA||Chewton Glen Hotel|
|1984||June 2nd||SFA||Turnberry Hotel|
|1985||June 15th||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|1986||May 30th||FIFA||Camino Real Hotel||First (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.
|1987||June 13th||FAW||Bodysgallen Hall|
|1988||June 4th||FA||Royal Lancaster Hotel|
|1989||June 7nd||SFA||Caledonian Hotel|
|1990||June 28th||FIFA||Hilton Cavalieri Hotel||Held during the 1990 World Cup|
|1991||June 8th||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|1992||May 30th||FAW||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.|
|1993||February 27th||FA||Hanbury Manor|
|1994||March 5th||FIFA||FIFA House,
|1995||March 4th||SFA||Turnberry Hotel|
|1996||March 9th||FIFA||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.
|1997||March 1st,||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|1998||March 6th||FIFA||Hôtel Plaza Athénée|
|1999||February 20th||FAW||Miskin Manor Hotel|
|2001||March 10th||SFA||Balmoral Hotel|
|2002||March 16th||FIFA||Hôtel Mont Cervin|
|2003||March 15th||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|2004||February 28th||FIFA||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.|
|2005||February 26th||FAW||Miskin Manor Hotel|
|2006||March 4th||FIFA||Palace Hotel|
|2007||March 3rd||FA||Lowry Hotel|
|2008||March 8th||SFA||Gleneagles Hotel|
|2009||February 28th||IFA||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|2010||March 6th||FIFA||Home of FIFA,
|2011||March 5th||FAW||Celtic Manor Hotel|
|2012||March 3rd||FA||Pennyhill Park Hotel|
|2013||March 2nd||SFA||Balmoral Hotel|
|2014||March 1st||FIFA||Home of FIFA,
|2015||February 27th - March 1st||IFA||Culloden Hotel|
|2016||March 5th||FAW||St. David's Hotel and Spa|
|2017||March 3rd||FA||Wembley Stadium|
|2018||March 3rd||FIFA||Home of FIFA,
|2019||March 2nd||SFA||Marcliffe Hotel|
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