2 MAR 24
The IFAB approves permanent concussion substitutes among several changes to the Laws of the Game
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The IFAB approved several changes to and clarifications of the Laws of the Game relating to players in relation to permanent concussion substitutes, player equipment, fouls and misconduct, and penalty kicks during its 138th Annual General Meeting (AGM), hosted by the Scottish Football Association at Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Trials confirmed

Detailed protocols for three trials in domestic competitions below the top two tiers aimed at improving participant behaviour were approved, namely:  

  • Only a team’s captain being able to approach the referee in certain situations.
  • The introduction of cooling-off periods to allow the referee to require teams to go to their own penalty area.
  • Increasing the time limit for the goalkeepers holding the ball to eight seconds, otherwise possession will revert to the opposing team.

The current guidelines to temporary dismissals in youth and grassroots football were improved. Any potential wider application will only be considered once the impact of these changes have been reviewed.

The IFAB decided to extend FIFA’s trial where the referee publicly announces the final decisions and the reasoning after a video assistant referee (VAR) review or lengthy VAR check to other competitions. Participating competitions will require permission from The IFAB and will have to commit to following FIFA’s refereeing and technology guidelines.

Changes and clarifications for the Laws of the Game 2024/25

The next edition of the Laws of the Game, which will come into effect on 1 July 2024, will feature the following changes and clarifications:

  • Law 3 (The Players): Additional permanent concussion substitutions to be a competition option in accordance with the necessary protocol.
  • Law 3 (The Players) and Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment): Each team must have a team captain who wears an identifying armband.
  • Law 4 (The Players’ Equipment): Players are responsible for the size and suitability of their shinguards, which remain a compulsory part of their equipment.
  • Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct): Handball offences that are not deliberate, and for which penalties are awarded, are to be treated in the same way as other fouls.
  • Law 14 (The Penalty Kick): Part of the ball must touch or overhang the centre of the penalty mark, and encroachment by outfield players will be penalised only if it has an impact.

Although the changes will take effect from 1 July 2024, competitions starting before that date may implement them earlier or delay their implementation until no later than the start of the subsequent competition.

Other topics

FIFA confirmed that it would launch a global campaign to raise awareness of how to recognise the symptoms of concussion and treat it appropriately, while The IFAB also requested relevant medical data analyses to be provided to the subsequent AGM in line with the amendment to Law 3 regarding this topic.

In addition, members received an update on The FA’s trials with body cameras at grassroots level and with a ban on “deliberate heading” at U-12 level and below. The IFAB also received an update on the offside trial which has been undertaken at U-18 level in Italy, and agreed to further trials.

The AGM, which was chaired and hosted by the Scottish FA, was also attended by representatives from FIFA, The FA, the Irish FA, the FA of Wales and The IFAB administration. At the meeting, FIFA Secretary General ad interim Mattias Grafström was confirmed as the new chair of The IFAB’s Board of Directors.