All potential changes to the Laws of the Game are considered in the light of our law principles.

The work of The IFAB is a continuous and comprehensive process. Changing the Laws of the Game involves interaction with the world’s football community and conducting constant research and analysis with the help of expert bodies. We regularly consult with football associations, leagues and competitions to understand their needs and gather proposals to improve the Laws of the Game for the benefit of the game at all levels throughout the world. These proposals are thoroughly discussed with different expert teams within our organisation.

At The IFAB, we are football enthusiasts, and our goal is to protect the core values of the game, particularly its fairness and integrity. We maintain a healthy balance between “what football wants” and simplicity of playing the game. This is why the changes to the Laws follow a clear decision-making process and are always made with a single goal in mind: to benefit the game.

The decision-making process is always the same, irrespective of the topic, and is never-ending as the Laws must be dynamic and ready to adapt to changes in the way football is played today.


Changes to the Laws

Any change must preserve or enhance the fairness of football and the integrity of each match; this includes respecting referees and the decisions they make.

As far as possible, Law changes must be inclusive and applicable to every football match, from children playing in a small village to the FIFA World Cup™ final. Every Law change must help and attract as many people as possible to become involved in, and enjoy, football regardless of their background or skill.

Football cannot ignore the growth of technology. The Laws of the Game must help football embrace technology when it benefits the game and take measures to protect the game where it represents a threat.

Overall, the change of any Law should focus on improving player behaviour, increasing fairness and respect, reducing playing time interruptions and increasing the attractiveness of the game.

Submission of Proposals

Any football association can make a proposal or a recommendation relating to the Laws for consideration by The IFAB, by forwarding in writing the suggestions or proposed alterations, requests for experimentation and other items for discussion to the Secretary of The IFAB not later than 1 October.

Subsequently, these items are considered by The IFAB’s technical experts and may then be presented to the Annual Business Meeting (ABM) before potentially being submitted either for approval at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), experimentation or further deliberations by the advisory panels and other expert bodies.

Once approved at the AGM, changes to the Laws of the Game come into force on 1 July, unless specified and communicated otherwise. Competitions which have started before 1 July may:

  • delay implementing the changes until the end of the competition or
  • implement them as soon as they have been officially announced and circulated.