International Football Association Board
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International Football Association Board

The International
Football Association Board
IFAB logo.svg
Formation1886; 134 years ago (1886)
PurposeManagement of the Laws of the Game
HeadquartersZurich, Switzerland
Region served
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]

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]


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.

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 1 June FA
51 Holborn Viaduct
2 2 2 2 0 100% First meeting
1887 1 June SFA
6 Carlton Place
First meeting to amend the Laws of the Game
1888 25 June FAW Wynnstay Arms Hotel [14]
1889 1 June IFA Commercial Hotel [15]
1890 2 June FA Anderton's Hotel [16]
1891 2 June SFA Alexandra Hotel
1892 13 June FAW Prince of Wales Hotel
1893 10 June IFA Hotel Shaftesbury Date of subsequent meetings fixed to be the third Monday in June.
1894 18 June FA England Windermere Ferry Hotel
1895 17 June SFA Alexandra Hotel
1896 15 June FAW Wales Aberystwyth White Horse Hotel
1897 14 June IFA Mourne Hotel
1898 20 June FA Football Association Offices,
61 Chancery Lane
1899 19 June SFA St. Enoch's Station Hotel
1900 18 June FAW Royal Hotel
1901 17 June IFA Royal Hotel
1902 16 June FA Grand Hotel
1903 15 June SFA Station Hotel Date of subsequent meetings moved to the second Saturday in June.
1904 11 June FAW British Hotel [17]
1905 17 June IFA Lake Hotel First meeting to be held outside today's United Kingdom.
1906 9 June FA Royal Hotel
1907 8 June SFA Alexandra Hotel
1908 19-20 June FAW Rock Hotel
1909 12 June IFA Great Northern Hotel
1910 11 June FA Royal York Hotel
1911 11 June SFA Station Hotel
1912 8 June FAW Queen's Hotel
1913 14 June IFA Northern Counties Hotel 2 2 2 2 2 80% First meeting to include FIFA
1914 13 June FIFA Hotel Palais D'Orsay First meeting held outside Britain and Ireland.
Last meeting before the First World War.
1920 12-14 June FA Torbay Hotel 2 2 2 2 0 100% First meeting after the First World War.
FIFA again excluded.
1921 11 June SFA Portpatrick Hotel
1922 10 June FAW Imperial Hotel
1923 9 June IFA Causeway Hotel Last meeting to exclude FIFA
1924 14 June FA Football Association Offices,
42 Russell Square
2 2 2 2 2 80%
1925 13 June FIFA 11 Rue de Londres
1926 12 June SFA Grand Hotel
1927 11 June FAW Grand Hotel
1928 9 June IFA Slieve Donard Hotel
1929 8 June FIFA Fédération Française de Football Association Offices,
22 Rue de Londres
1930 14 June FA Royal Exeter Hotel
1931 13 June SFA Gleneagles Hotel
1932 11 June FAW Imperial Hotel
1933 10 June 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 9 June FIFA Hôtel des Anglais
1935 8 June FA Daish's Hotel
1936 13 June SFA Marine Hotel
1937 12 June FAW Imperial Hotel
1938 11 & 13 June IFA Northern Counties Hotel
1939 10 June 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 14 June FA Imperial Hotel First meeting held after World War II.
1948 12 June 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 11 June SFA Hydro Hotel
1950 10 June FAW Bulkeley Arms Hotel
1951 9 June IFA Northern Counties Hotel
1952 14 June FIFA Morgano-Tiberio Hotel Date of future meetings moved to third Saturday in June.
1953 20 June FA Cavendish Hotel
1954 19 June 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 18 June SFA Marine Hotel
1956 16 June FAW Imperial Hotel
1957 15 June IFA Northern Counties Hotel
1958 7 June 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 20 June FA Pomme d'Or Hotel First of four consecutive meetings hosted by the FA outside England in the Channel Islands
1960 18 June SFA Rusack's Marine Hotel
1961 17 June FAW Seabank Hotel
1962 23 June IFA Slieve Donard Hotel
1963 15 June FIFA Palazzo della Camera di Commercio
1964 20 June FA Grand Hotel
1965 19 June SFA Caledonian Hotel
1966 11 June FAW Marine Hotel
1967 17 June 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 15 June FIFA Hotel Excelsior
1969 21 June FA Grand Hotel
1970 27 June SFA Caledonian Hotel
1971 19 June FAW Dragon Hotel
1972 10 June FIFA Parkhotel Schönbrunn FIFA stepped in to replace the IFA.
1973 23 June FA Duke of Richmond Hotel
1974 9 July 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 21 June SFA Gleneagles Hotel
1976 18 June FAW Seabank Hotel
1977 19 June FA Royal Garden Hotel The IFA withdrew from hosting this meeting.
1978 1 June FIFA Hotel Sheraton First meeting outside Europe. Held on the opening day of the 1978 World Cup.
1979 16 June SFA Gleneagles Hotel
1980 7 June IFA Culloden Hotel
1981 13 June 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 6 July FIFA Palacio de Congresos Meeting held the day after the final of the 1982 World Cup
1983 9 July FA Chewton Glen Hotel
1984 2 June SFA Turnberry Hotel
1985 15 June IFA Culloden Hotel
1986 30 May 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 13 June FAW Bodysgallen Hall
1988 4 June FA Royal Lancaster Hotel
1989 7 June SFA Caledonian Hotel
1990 28 June FIFA Hilton Cavalieri Hotel Held during the 1990 World Cup
1991 8 June IFA Culloden Hotel
1992 30 May 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 27 February FA Hanbury Manor
1994 5 March FIFA FIFA House
1995 4 March SFA Turnberry Hotel
1996 9 March 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 1 March IFA Culloden Hotel
1998 6 March FIFA Hôtel Plaza Athénée
1999 20 February FAW Miskin Manor Hotel
2000 19 February FA Cliveden
2001 10 March SFA Balmoral Hotel
2002 16 March FIFA Hôtel Mont Cervin
2003 15 March IFA Culloden Hotel
2004 28 February 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.[18][19]
2005 26 February FAW Miskin Manor Hotel [20]
2006 4 March FIFA Palace Hotel 120th anniversary.[21]
2007 3 March FA Lowry Hotel
2008 8 March SFA Gleneagles Hotel
2009 28 February IFA Slieve Donard Hotel
2010 6 March FIFA FIFA headquarters [22]
2011 5 March FAW Celtic Manor Hotel [21]
2012 3 March FA Pennyhill Park Hotel [23]
2013 2 March SFA Balmoral Hotel [24]
2014 1 March FIFA FIFA headquarters [25]
2015 IFA Culloden Hotel [26][27]
2016 5 March FAW St. David's Hotel and Spa 130th Anniversary.[28][29]
2017 3 March FA Wembley Stadium [30][31]
2018 3 March FIFA FIFA headquarters [32][33]
2019 2 March SFA Marcliffe Hotel [34]
2020 29 February IFA Culloden Hotel [35]


  1. ^ Tom Dunmore (16 September 2011). Historical Dictionary of Soccer. Scarecrow Press. pp. 150-. ISBN 978-0-8108-7188-5.
  2. ^ "Sin-bins will by considered by Fifa rulemakers Ifab after support from Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini". The Telegraph. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Article 7: General Assembly" (PDF). Statutes of the International Association Football Board (IFAB). 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Form & Function FIFA - FIFA paper on the role of the IFAB
  5. ^
  6. ^ FIFA Statutes FIFA
  7. ^ Gibson, Owen (5 March 2016). "Football's lawmakers approve live trials for video technology to aid referees". The Observer. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "The International Match: England v Scotland". Nottingham Journal: 6. 27 January 1886.
  9. ^ "Scottish Football Association". Cricket and Football Field: 12. 13 February 1886.
  10. ^ The First Meeting of the International Football Association Board Archived 2007-10-07 at the Wayback Machine Soccer South Bay Referee Association
  11. ^ - History of The FA Football Association
  12. ^ "Minutes of the 1923 Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 5. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Details from the IFAB archives
  14. ^ "International Football Conference at Wrexham". Wrexham Advertiser: 8. 30 June 1888.
  15. ^ "International Football Conference". Northern Whig. Belfast (25215): 7. 3 June 1889.
  16. ^ "Football: The International Association Board". Lancashire Evening Post (1127): 6. 3 June 1890.
  17. ^ "International Football Board". The Standard. London (24953): 8. 13 June 1904.
  18. ^ "FIFA to pay tribute to British football at International Football Association Board meeting in London". 13 February 2004. Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ "FIFA Executive Committee and 118th International Football Association Board AGM Media Accreditation Request". Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "Summary of the 2005 Changes to the Laws of the Game" (PDF). American Youth Soccer Organization. 26 February 2005. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ a b "125th annual meeting of the International Football Association Board" (PDF). 5 March 2011.
  22. ^ "124th Annual General Meeting of the IFAB" (PDF). 6 March 2010.
  23. ^ "Agenda of the 126th IFAB Annual General Meeting" (PDF). 3 March 2012.
  24. ^ "Agenda of the 2013 IFAB General Meeting" (PDF). 2 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Agenda: 128th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board" (PDF). 1 March 2014. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ "Minutes: 129th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Irish Football Association: Activity Report 2014-2015" (PDF). p. 20. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "Agenda: 130th Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "Minutes: 130th Annual General Meeting of The International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^ "Agenda: 131st Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "Minutes: 131st Annual General Meeting of The International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ "132nd IFAB Annual General Meeting Agenda" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Minutes of the 132nd Annual General Meeting of The International Football Association Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "SFA top brass will attend IFAB meeting to discuss rule changes". Retrieved 2019.
  35. ^ "Lawmakers discuss football rule changes at meeting in Holywood". 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2020.

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