International Football Association Board

International Football Association Board

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...



IFAB is made up of representatives from each of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's pioneering football associations—England's Football Association
The Football Association
The Football Association, also known as simply The FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It was formed in 1863, and is the oldest national football association...

 (The FA), the Scottish Football Association
Scottish Football Association
The Scottish Football Association is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations...

 (SFA), the Football Association of Wales
Football Association of Wales
The Football Association of Wales is the governing body of association football in Wales. It is a member of FIFA, UEFA and the IFAB.Established in 1876 , it is the third-oldest national association in the world, and is one of the four associations The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is the...

 (FAW) and Northern Ireland's Irish Football Association
Irish Football Association
The Irish Football Association is the organising body for association football in Northern Ireland, and was historically the governing body for Ireland...

 (IFA)—and Fédération Internationale de Football Association
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

 (FIFA), the international governing body for football. Each UK association has one vote and FIFA has four. IFAB deliberations must be approved by three-quarters of the vote, which translates to at least six 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. There is also a quorum
A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group...

 requirement that at least four of the five member associations, one of which must be FIFA, have to be present for a meeting to proceed.

The Board meets twice a year, once to decide on possible changes to the rules governing the game of Football and once to deliberate on its internal affairs. The first meeting is called the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the second is the Annual Business Meeting (ABM). 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.

The decisions of each year's Annual General Meeting of the Board regarding changes to the Laws of the Game are binding for confederations and member associations as from 1 July but confederations or member associations 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.


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 whoever was the home team were used. While this solution was workable, it was hardly ideal. To remedy this, the FA, SFA, FAW and the IFA met on 6 December 1882 in Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, in order to set forth a common set of rules that could be applied to matches between the UK football associations' national teams. The conference created the first international competition, the British Home Championship
British Home Championship
The British Home Championship was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the 1883–84 season until the 1983–84...

, and proposed the establishment of a permanent board to regulate the laws of the game.

Therefore, the first meeting of IFAB took place at the FA's offices at Holborn Viaduct
Holborn Viaduct
Holborn Viaduct is a bridge in London and the name of the street which crosses it . It links Holborn, via Holborn Circus, with Newgate Street in the City of London, passing over Farringdon Street and the now subterranean River Fleet.It was built between 1863 and 1869, at a cost of over two million...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on Wednesday 2 June 1886. The FA, SFA, FAW and IFA each had equal voting rights.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

, the international organising body
Sport governing body
A sport governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sport governing bodies come in various forms, and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule infractions and deciding on rule changes in the sport...

 for the sport, was formed in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

in 1904 and declared that they would adhere to the rules laid down by IFAB. The growing popularity of the game internationally led to the admittance of FIFA representatives to IFAB in 1913. Initially, they only had two votes—the same number as each of UK associations—and decisions required a four-fifths majority to pass, meaning that the UK could still change the laws against FIFA's wishes if they all voted together. In 1958, the Board agreed on its current voting system, with each UK association having one vote, FIFA four and six votes being required to carry any motion.

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