Media Release

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

Monday 23 November 2020, 17:00

Proposals for additional substitution trials in cases of suspected concussion supported by The IFAB’s advisory panels

The IFAB’s Football and Technical Advisory Panels (FAP-TAP) have agreed that the main proposed principles of an additional permanent substitution submitted by the Concussion Expert Group be explored further and that more clarification on the handball Law be requested.

Convening by videoconference chaired by IFAB Director and Football Association of Wales Chief Executive Jonathan Ford, FAP-TAP also discussed the offside Law, for which it was concluded that any change should be applicable at all levels of the game.

In relation to the handball Law, given that the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent, notwithstanding the revised 2019-20 wording, FAP-TAP supported further clarification. It was re-emphasised that the final judgment remains with the referee and not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence and, in terms of a definition of the term “unnaturally bigger”, referees should judge the position of the hand/arm in relation to the player’s movement in that phase of play.

Regarding the additional permanent substitution protocol, potential trial environments and timeline, FAP-TAP supported trials beginning as soon as possible and proposed that The IFAB would consider approving these at its upcoming Annual Business Meeting on 16 December, when it will also set the agenda for its Annual General Meeting on 6 March 2021.

Following constructive feedback from competition organisers worldwide on the current use of the five-substitute option (see IFAB Circulars 19 and 20), FAP-TAP concluded that the temporary amendment allowing up to five substitutes should continue and that the changing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on football should remain under constant review so appropriate action can be taken in the future.

Regarding the offside Law, FAP-TAP discussed potential options to be explored around making the game more attractive and dynamic. It was clear that, if any concrete proposal was to be considered, it would need to be applicable at all levels of the game and easy to apply for the match officials, mindful of the dynamic nature of player’s movement. It was agreed that extensive trials would be necessary before a Law change could be proposed.

FAP-TAP was also updated on the latest developments with VAR specifically regarding future innovations that could include more affordable VAR systems, to allow competition organisers with more limited budgets to be able to access and use VAR technology.