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.
|Formation||2 June 1886|
|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".
The first meeting of IFAB took place at the FA's offices at Holborn Viaduct in London on Wednesday 2 June 1886. 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.
List of IFAB Annual General Meetings
|Year||Date||Host||Location||Venue||Votes||Notes / references|
to amend laws
|1886||1 June||FA||London||Football Association Offices,
51 Holborn Viaduct
|1887||1 June||SFA||Glasgow||Scottish Football Association Offices,
6 Carlton Place
|First meeting to amend the Laws of the Game|
|1888||25 June||FAW||Wrexham||Wynnstay Arms Hotel|
|1889||1 June||IFA||Belfast||Commercial Hotel|
|1890||2 June||FA||London||Anderton's Hotel|
|1891||2 June||SFA||Glasgow||Alexandra Hotel|
|1892||13 June||FAW||Llandudno||Prince of Wales Hotel|
|1893||10 June||IFA||Belfast||Hotel Shaftesbury||Date of subsequent meetings fixed to be the third Monday in June.|
|1894||18 June||FA||Windermere||Ferry Hotel|
|1895||17 June||SFA||Glasgow||Alexandra Hotel|
|1896||15 June||FAW||Aberystwyth||White Horse Hotel|
|1897||14 June||IFA||Rostrevor, Newry||Mourne Hotel|
|1898||20 June||FA||London||Football Association Offices,
61 Chancery Lane
|1899||19 June||SFA||Glasgow||St. Enoch's Station Hotel|
|1900||18 June||FAW||Llangollen||Royal Hotel|
|1901||17 June||IFA||Giant's Causeway, Bushmills||Royal Hotel|
|1902||16 June||FA||Scarborough||Grand Hotel|
|1903||15 June||SFA||Ayr||Station Hotel||Date of subsequent meetings moved to the second Saturday in June.|
|1904||11 June||FAW||Bangor||British Hotel|
|1905||17 June||IFA||Killarney||Lake Hotel||First meeting to be held outside today's United Kingdom.|
|1906||9 June||FA||Bowness-on-Windermere||Royal Hotel|
|1907||8 June||SFA||Oban||Alexandra Hotel|
|1908||19-20 June||FAW||Llandrindod Wells||Rock Hotel|
|1909||12 June||IFA||Bundoran||Great Northern Hotel|
|1910||11 June||FA||Brighton||Royal York Hotel|
|1911||11 June||SFA||Turnberry, Ayrshire||Station Hotel|
|1912||8 June||FAW||Aberystwyth||Queen's Hotel|
|1913||14 June||IFA||Portrush||Northern Counties Hotel||2||2||2||2||2||80%||First meeting to include FIFA|
|1914||13 June||FIFA||Paris||Hotel Palais D'Orsay||First meeting held outside Britain and Ireland.|
Last meeting before the First World War.
|1920||12-14 June||FA||Torquay||Torbay Hotel||2||2||2||2||0||100%||First meeting after the First World War.|
FIFA again excluded.
|1921||11 June||SFA||Portpatrick||Portpatrick Hotel|
|1922||10 June||FAW||Llandudno||Imperial Hotel|
|1923||9 June||IFA||Giant's Causeway, Bushmills||Causeway Hotel||Last meeting to exclude FIFA|
|1924||14 June||FA||London||Football Association Offices,
42 Russell Square
|1925||13 June||FIFA||Paris||11 Rue de Londres|
|1926||12 June||SFA||St Andrews||Grand Hotel|
|1927||11 June||FAW||Llandudno||Grand Hotel|
|1928||9 June||IFA||Newcastle||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|1929||8 June||FIFA||Paris||Fédération Française de Football Association Offices,
22 Rue de Londres
|1930||14 June||FA||Bournemouth||Royal Exeter Hotel|
|1931||13 June||SFA||Auchterarder||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1932||11 June||FAW||Llandudno||Imperial Hotel|
|1933||10 June||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||9 June||FIFA||Cannes||Hôtel des Anglais|
|1935||8 June||FA||Shanklin||Daish's Hotel|
|1936||13 June||SFA||Troon||Marine Hotel|
|1937||12 June||FAW||Llandudno||Imperial Hotel|
|1938||11 & 13 June||IFA||Portrush||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1939||10 June||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||14 June||FA||Torquay||Imperial Hotel||First meeting held after World War II.|
|1948||12 June||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||11 June||SFA||Pitlochry||Hydro Hotel|
|1950||10 June||FAW||Beaumaris||Bulkeley Arms Hotel|
|1951||9 June||IFA||Portrush||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1952||14 June||FIFA||Capri||Morgano-Tiberio Hotel||Date of future meetings moved to third Saturday in June.|
|1953||20 June||FA||Eastbourne||Cavendish Hotel|
|1954||19 June||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||18 June||SFA||North Berwick||Marine Hotel|
|1956||16 June||FAW||Llandudno||Imperial Hotel|
|1957||15 June||IFA||Portrush||Northern Counties Hotel|
|1958||7 June||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||20 June||FA||St. Helier, Jersey||Pomme d'Or Hotel||First of four consecutive meetings hosted by the FA outside England in the Channel Islands|
|1960||18 June||SFA||St Andrews||Rusack's Marine Hotel|
|1961||17 June||FAW||Porthcawl||Seabank Hotel|
|1962||23 June||IFA||Newcastle||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|1963||15 June||FIFA||Venice||Palazzo della Camera di Commercio|
|1964||20 June||FA||St. Helier, Jersey||Grand Hotel|
|1965||19 June||SFA||Edinburgh||Caledonian Hotel|
|1966||11 June||FAW||Llandudno||Marine Hotel|
|1967||17 June||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||15 June||FIFA||Dubrovnik||Hotel Excelsior|
|1969||21 June||FA||St. Helier, Jersey||Grand Hotel|
|1970||27 June||SFA||Inverness||Caledonian Hotel|
|1971||19 June||FAW||Swansea||Dragon Hotel|
|1972||10 June||FIFA||Vienna||Parkhotel Schönbrunn||FIFA stepped in to replace the IFA.|
|1973||23 June||FA||St Peter Port, Guernsey||Duke of Richmond Hotel|
|1974||9 July||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||21 June||SFA||Auchterarder||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1976||18 June||FAW||Porthcawl||Seabank Hotel|
|1977||19 June||FA||London||Royal Garden Hotel||The IFA withdrew from hosting this meeting.|
|1978||1 June||FIFA||Buenos Aires||Hotel Sheraton||First meeting outside Europe. Held on the opening day of the 1978 World Cup.|
|1979||16 June||SFA||Auchterarder||Gleneagles Hotel|
|1980||7 June||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|1981||13 June||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||6 July||FIFA||Madrid||Palacio de Congresos||Meeting held the day after the final of the 1982 World Cup|
|1983||9 July||FA||New Milton||Chewton Glen Hotel|
|1984||2 June||SFA||Turnberry, Ayrshire||Turnberry Hotel|
|1985||15 June||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|1986||30 May||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||13 June||FAW||Llandudno||Bodysgallen Hall|
|1988||4 June||FA||London||Royal Lancaster Hotel|
|1989||7 June||SFA||Edinburgh||Caledonian Hotel|
|1990||28 June||FIFA||Rome||Hilton Cavalieri Hotel||Held during the 1990 World Cup|
|1991||8 June||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|1992||30 May||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||27 February||FA||Thundridge, Hertfordshire||Hanbury Manor|
|1994||5 March||FIFA||Zurich||FIFA House|
|1995||4 March||SFA||Turnberry, Ayrshire||Turnberry Hotel|
|1996||9 March||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||1 March||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|1998||6 March||FIFA||Paris||Hôtel Plaza Athénée|
|1999||20 February||FAW||Groesfaen, Vale of Glamorgan||Miskin Manor Hotel|
|2000||19 February||FA||Taplow, Berkshire||Cliveden|
|2001||10 March||SFA||Edinburgh||Balmoral Hotel|
|2002||16 March||FIFA||Zermatt||Hôtel Mont Cervin|
|2003||15 March||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|2004||28 February||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.|
|2005||26 February||FAW||Groesfaen, Vale of Glamorgan||Miskin Manor Hotel|
|2006||4 March||FIFA||Lucerne||Palace Hotel||120th anniversary.|
|2007||3 March||FA||Manchester||Lowry Hotel|
|2008||8 March||SFA||Auchterarder||Gleneagles Hotel|
|2009||28 February||IFA||Newcastle||Slieve Donard Hotel|
|2010||6 March||FIFA||Zurich||FIFA headquarters|
|2011||5 March||FAW||Usk Valley, Newport||Celtic Manor Hotel|
|2012||3 March||FA||Bagshot, Surrey||Pennyhill Park Hotel|
|2013||2 March||SFA||Edinburgh||Balmoral Hotel|
|2014||1 March||FIFA||Zurich||FIFA headquarters|
|2015||27 February–1 March||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|2016||5 March||FAW||Cardiff||St. David's Hotel and Spa||130th Anniversary.|
|2017||3 March||FA||Wembley, London||Wembley Stadium|
|2018||3 March||FIFA||Zurich||FIFA headquarters|
|2019||2 March||SFA||Aberdeen||Marcliffe Hotel|
|2020||29 February||IFA||Craigavad, Holywood, near Belfast||Culloden Hotel|
|2021||5 March||FAW||Meeting held by videoconference||N/A|
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