Illustrated: Changes football lawmakers hope to bring forward

Have you ever wanted to hear Anthony Taylor’s voice ringing in your ears in a crowded stadium?

From next week, that’s what you get as the International Football Association Board (IFAB) – football’s lawmakers – have agreed to prosecute referees who explain VAR decisions to the public and on television, in FIFA tournaments over the next 12 months. The first event will be the men’s Club World Cup, which kicks off next month in Morocco.

It represents an important step forward in the bid for more transparency in the VAR. But while this was the most striking outcome from Wednesday’s FIFA Council meeting, it was not the most controversial.

Such was the issue of temporary concussion replacements, which did not achieve consensus among FIFA members, and caused frustration and consternation among brain injury activists, who believe that protocols in football are not fit for purpose.

There were other developments: the IFAB confirmed a long drive towards greater “automation” in the game after the use of semi-automated offside at the Men’s World Cup, and confirmed that FIFA’s stoppage-time method would be put forward as guidelines for the next time. season.

Below is a summary of what was discussed, agreed upon, and disagreed.


Who is IFAB?

They are responsible for the laws of the game. They consist of the four British confederations, in addition to FIFA. There are technical and advisory committees made up of former players, coaches and officials.

On Wednesday, they met at Wembley Stadium for the Annual Business Meeting (ABM), which lays the groundwork for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 4, at which changes to the law are ratified. In ABM, each member has one vote, with the majority voting.

However, at the Ordinary General Assembly, a majority of 75 percent is required and FIFA has four votes, which means it can block any changes it doesn’t agree with.

What happened to concussion replacements?

The fact that the meeting lasted at least 90 minutes underscores the divisions over one issue — temporary concussion replacements.

The topic has delayed proceedings with “very strong and different” points of view in the room, according to Mark Bullingham, the FA’s chief executive and chair of the meeting.

He and the Football Association have been proponents of experimenting with temporary concussion replacements as well as the existing trial of additional permanent replacements, supporting the position of the Premier League, the FIFPro and the PFA and the World League Forums – an organization representing the Major 45. local competitions.

Their view is that there have been cases where players continued to play, such as goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand during Iran’s World Cup opening match against England, despite sustaining a concussion. However, the counter view is that permanent substitutions are safer, because the player is eliminated at the point of evaluation.


Alireza Beiranvand appeared to suffer a concussion during Iran’s World Cup match against England (Photo: Katherine Ifill/Getty Images)

“The risks of false negatives are, in theory, lower,” Bullingham said. “Some of us see the practicality of that as not working, with players continuing to play with more than just a suspicion of concussion.”

Issues such as the ability of team doctors to decide independently of their coaching staff were discussed, with the counter view that team doctors know their players better than anyone else and are in a better position to judge. “What you need is an environment where clinicians are able to make the right decision, and that’s the priority,” Bullingham said.

Ultimately, though, there will be no support from the IFAB for interim concussion replacement trials, as in the Premier League, MLS and Ligue 1. The permanent concussion trial upheld him.

The IFAB has agreed to promote the application of the permanent model, with temporary replacements still under active review.

What was the reaction?

The decision to refuse to prosecute was condemned. FIFPro, the World Players Council and the World Leagues Forum issued a joint statement saying they were “deeply disappointed” by the decision, and that those who petitioned for it were doing so “based on guidance from the medical community that a temporary concussion replacement may enhance the health and safety of footballers.” and provide useful data from the experiment for further study by the FIFA Council.”

wrote Dr. Adam Wright, chair of brain health at PFA the athlete Determine the status of temporary concussion replacements. Following IFAB’s ABM, he said: “It is extremely disappointing that IFAB members have once again missed the opportunity to offer what we believe will be a valuable tool to better protect players’ welfare.

“The federations and players’ associations are in line with this and have asked the FIFA Council for permission to introduce temporary concussion replacements from next season. There is a fundamental problem if players’ associations and leagues feel that football’s lawmakers are preventing them from doing what they collectively agree is best to protect safety. Players The next step will be for unions and unions to discuss what this means and what options are available to them.

“We believe the introduction of temporary concussion replacements is now increasingly seen as a rational measure to better protect players.

Many will rightly ask, “If not now, then when?” “

Referees at the microphone

One of the biggest complaints surrounding the implementation of VAR is that it can confuse and ignore spectators watching inside stadiums.

The IFAB seeks to change this by experimenting with interpretations of VAR decisions by referees, for the first time, via a microphone.

“We think it’s important in terms of transparency, mostly to crowds who we don’t think are receiving enough information,” Bullingham said.

This will not see the process of how a decision is reached between the VAR official and the referee broadcast on the pitch. These conversations will remain private. However, the final decision will be explained to viewers and spectators. There is a final stage where the referee confirms the decision with his VAR counterpart, to ensure that they understand each other and this is the moment that is intended to be broadcast.

Video Assistant Referee, Premier League


Interpretations of VAR decisions by the referees will be broadcast over the microphone to the attendees (Photo: John Hubley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There will be initial issues to work out, particularly with language and the ability to quickly translate captions during international matches. That is why it is being tried on the international stage.

The trial will last for 12 months and will take place in FIFA tournaments. The first event will be the Men’s Club World Cup in Morocco. Provided she is successful, she will then be tested at the men’s Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia, and possibly next at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

What about countdown hours?

The Men’s World Cup in Qatar has redefined the stoppage time scale, and the big numbers may be here to stay.

The IFAB was keen to improve the time the ball takes to play, and felt that the World Cup confirmed this position – rather than moving to “real time”, which would reduce stoppages for set matches such as throw-ins and kicks. Corners. Those interruptions were felt to do with how the match was run, while the accurate measurement of the amount of time lost due to stoppages, injuries and substitutions, was felt to be working well.

Patrick Neilson, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, said: “What we felt worked in the World Cup was a tougher account of time lost during a match. So there is no need to change the laws of the game, just to remind people where the edges are.”

In theory, it is believed that once players realize that time cannot be gained from aggravating suspensions, matches will not be extended significantly.

The IFAB agreed that new FIFA guidelines, mainly to follow the World Cup model, would be issued for the next season.

and sneak?

The World Cup was a proving ground for semi-automated offsides and the IFAB felt its implementation was also successful.

“The goal is to move in the long term toward the decision-making process as quickly as possible, and as automated as possible,” Bullingham said. “The World Cup was an important step forward in making that happen.”

The IFAB reported that decision-making time decreased from 72 seconds to 35 seconds. They aim to improve the speed at which a visual graphic, which is a three-dimensional representation of resolution, is presented to an audience.

Manchester United’s first goal in the Manchester derby last weekend – and whether Marcus Rashford was involved in play and therefore offside – was discussed. The IFAB has concluded that there is no gap in the law regarding this type of offside call.

Any other business?

A working group has been set up to look at stronger penalties for players and managers who abuse officials.

(TOP PHOTO: Ibrahima Konate was checked for concussion while playing for Liverpool. Photo: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

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