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.[1] IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the Laws of the Game.[2]

The International
Football Association Board
Formation1886 (1886)
PurposeManagement of the Laws of the Game
HeadquartersZurich, Switzerland
Region served
The FA
Lukas Brud

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.[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 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]

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]


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.[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

Year Date Host Location Venue Votes Notes / references[13]
to amend laws
1886 June 1st FA London Football Association Offices,
51 Holborn Viaduct
2 2 2 2 0 100% First meeting
1887 June 1st SFA Glasgow Scottish Football Association Offices,
6 Carlton Place
First meeting to amend the Laws of the Game
1888 June 25th FAW Wrexham Wynnstay Arms Hotel [14]
1889 June 1st IFA Belfast Commercial Hotel [15]
1890 June 2nd FA London Anderton's Hotel [16]
1891 June 2nd SFA Glasgow Alexandra Hotel
1892 June 13th FAW Llandudno Prince of Wales Hotel
1893 June 10th IFA Belfast Hotel Shaftesbury Date of subsequent meetings fixed to be the third Monday in June.
1894 June 18th FA Windermere Ferry Hotel
1895 June 17th SFA Glasgow Alexandra Hotel
1896 June 15th FAW Aberystwyth White Horse Hotel
1897 June 14th IFA Rostrevor, Newry Mourne Hotel
1898 June 20th FA London Football Association Offices,
61 Chancery Lane
1899 June 19th SFA Glasgow St. Enoch's Station Hotel
1900 June 18th FAW Llangollen Royal Hotel
1901 June 17th IFA Giant's Causeway, Bushmills Royal Hotel
1902 June 16th FA Scarborough Grand Hotel
1903 June 15th SFA Ayr Station Hotel Date of subsequent meetings moved to the second Saturday in June.
1904 June 11th FAW Bangor British Hotel [17]
1905 June 17th IFA Killarney Lake Hotel First meeting to be held outside today's United Kingdom.
1906 June 9th FA Bowness-on-Windermere Royal Hotel
1907 June 8th SFA Oban Alexandra Hotel
1908 June 19th-20th FAW Llandrindod Wells Rock Hotel
1909 June 12th IFA Bundoran Great Northern Hotel
1910 June 11th FA Brighton Royal York Hotel
1911 June 11th SFA Turnberry, Ayrshire Station Hotel
1912 June 8th FAW Aberystwyth Queen's Hotel
1913 June 14th IFA Portrush Northern Counties Hotel 2 2 2 2 2 80% First meeting to include FIFA
1914 June 13th FIFA Paris Hotel Palais D'Orsay First meeting held outside Britain and Ireland.
Last meeting before the First World War.
1920 June 12th-14th FA Torquay Torbay Hotel 2 2 2 2 0 100% First meeting after the First World War.
FIFA again excluded.
1921 June 11th SFA Portpatrick Portpatrick Hotel
1922 June 10th FAW Llandudno Imperial Hotel
1923 June 9th IFA Giant's Causeway, Bushmills Causeway Hotel Last meeting to exclude FIFA
1924 June 14th FA London Football Association Offices,
42 Russell Square
2 2 2 2 2 80%
1925 June 13th FIFA Paris 11 Rue de Londres
1926 June 12th SFA St Andrews Grand Hotel
1927 June 11th FAW Llandudno Grand Hotel
1928 June 9th IFA Newcastle Slieve Donard Hotel
1929 June 8th FIFA Paris Fédération Française de Football Association Offices,
22 Rue de Londres
1930 June 14th FA Bournemouth Royal Exeter Hotel
1931 June 13th SFA Auchterarder Gleneagles Hotel
1932 June 11th FAW Llandudno Imperial Hotel
1933 June 10th IFA Portrush 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 Cannes Hôtel des Anglais
1935 June 8th FA Shanklin Daish's Hotel
1936 June 13th SFA Troon Marine Hotel
1937 June 12th FAW Llandudno Imperial Hotel
1938 June 11th, 13th IFA Portrush Northern Counties Hotel
1939 June 10th FIFA 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.
1947 June 14th FA Torquay Imperial Hotel First meeting held after World War II.
1948 June 12th FIFA 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.
1949 June 11th SFA Pitlochry Hydro Hotel
1950 June 10th FAW Beaumaris Bulkeley Arms Hotel
1951 June 9th IFA Portrush Northern Counties Hotel
1952 June 14th FIFA Capri Morgano-Tiberio Hotel Date of future meetings moved to third Saturday in June.
1953 June 20th FA Eastbourne Cavendish Hotel
1954 June 19th FIFA Berne 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 North Berwick Marine Hotel
1956 June 16th FAW Llandudno Imperial Hotel
1957 June 15th IFA Portrush Northern Counties Hotel
1958 June 7th FIFA Stockholm 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 St. Helier, Jersey Pomme d'Or Hotel First of four consecutive meetings hosted by the FA outside England in the Channel Islands
1960 June 18th SFA St Andrews Rusack's Marine Hotel
1961 June 17th FAW Porthcawl Seabank Hotel
1962 June 23rd IFA Newcastle Slieve Donard Hotel
1963 June 15th FIFA Venice Palazzo della Camera di Commercio
1964 June 20th FA St. Helier, Jersey Grand Hotel
1965 June 19th SFA Edinburgh Caledonian Hotel
1966 June 11th FAW Llandudno Marine Hotel
1967 June 17th IFA Newcastle 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 Dubrovnik Hotel Excelsior
1969 June 21st FA St. Helier, Jersey Grand Hotel
1970 June 27th SFA Inverness Caledonian Hotel
1971 June 19th FAW Swansea Dragon Hotel
1972 June 10th FIFA Vienna Parkhotel Schönbrunn FIFA stepped in to replace the IFA.
1973 June 23rd FA St Peter Port, Guernsey Duke of Richmond Hotel
1974 July 9th FIFA 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.
1975 June 21st SFA Auchterarder Gleneagles Hotel
1976 June 18th FAW Porthcawl Seabank Hotel
1977 June 19th FA London Royal Garden Hotel The IFA withdrew from hosting this meeting.
1978 June 1st FIFA Buenos Aires Hotel Sheraton First meeting outside Europe. Held on the opening day of the 1978 World Cup.
1979 June 16th SFA Auchterarder Gleneagles Hotel
1980 June 7th IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
1981 June 13th FAW 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.
1982 July 6th FIFA Madrid Palacio de Congresos Meeting held the day after the final of the 1982 World Cup
1983 July 9th FA New Milton Chewton Glen Hotel
1984 June 2nd SFA Turnberry, Ayrshire Turnberry Hotel
1985 June 15th IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
1986 May 30th FIFA Mexico City 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 Llandudno Bodysgallen Hall
1988 June 4th FA London Royal Lancaster Hotel
1989 June 7nd SFA Edinburgh Caledonian Hotel
1990 June 28th FIFA Rome Hilton Cavalieri Hotel Held during the 1990 World Cup
1991 June 8th IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
1992 May 30th FAW 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.
1993 February 27th FA Thundridge, Hertfordshire Hanbury Manor
1994 March 5th FIFA Zurich FIFA House,
Hitzigweg 11
1995 March 4th SFA Turnberry, Ayrshire Turnberry Hotel
1996 March 9th FIFA 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.
1997 March 1st, IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
1998 March 6th FIFA Paris Hôtel Plaza Athénée
1999 February 20th FAW Groesfaen, Vale of Glamorgan Miskin Manor Hotel
2000 February 19th FA Taplow, Berkshire Cliveden
2001 March 10th SFA Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel
2002 March 16th FIFA Zermatt Hôtel Mont Cervin
2003 March 15th IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel
2004 February 28th FIFA 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]
2005 February 26th FAW Groesfaen, Vale of Glamorgan Miskin Manor Hotel
2006 March 4th FIFA Lucerne Palace Hotel
2007 March 3rd FA Manchester Lowry Hotel
2008 March 8th SFA Auchterarder Gleneagles Hotel
2009 February 28th IFA Newcastle Slieve Donard Hotel
2010 March 6th FIFA Zurich Home of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
2011 March 5th FAW Usk Valley, Newport Celtic Manor Hotel
2012 March 3rd FA Bagshot, Surrey Pennyhill Park Hotel
2013 March 2nd SFA Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel
2014 March 1st FIFA Zurich Home of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
2015 February 27th - March 1st IFA Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast Culloden Hotel [21][22]
2016 March 5th FAW Cardiff St. David's Hotel and Spa [23][24]
2017 March 3rd FA Wembley, London Wembley Stadium [25][26]
2018 March 3rd FIFA Zurich Home of FIFA,
FIFA-Strasse 20
2019 March 2nd SFA Aberdeen Marcliffe Hotel [29]


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  4. Form & Function FIFA - FIFA paper on the role of the IFAB
  6. FIFA Statutes FIFA
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  11. - History of The FA Football Association
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