IFAB meeting: Rules officials want to test time penalties in football

As of: November 28, 2023 5:27 p.m

The IFAB football regulators have agreed to a test procedure for temporary expulsions in professional football. It should also be tested whether only the captain is allowed to speak to the referee. A DFB plan against violence was also approved.

Chaled Nahar

At their meeting on Tuesday (November 28th, 2023) in London, the members of the International Football Association Boards (IFAB) the two tests. According to the IFAB, the two measures are about: “to improve the behavior of players in football and to increase respect for referees”.

Rules like ice hockey and rugby

1. A test stipulates that only the captain “in certain important game situations” can speak to the referee. Such a rule applies in a similar form in rugby.

2. Another test procedure should enable “penalty boxes” like in ice hockey. As has already been tried out in youth football, players should be able to be temporarily sent off. This would give referees a measure between a yellow and a red card.

The IFAB announced that the exact details of both test procedures are now being worked out. The issue is whether the form of temporary expulsions from youth football needs to be adapted to adult football and how long the penalties should last.

Leagues or associations must actively register their participation in the tests; participation in the tests is not mandatory.

Video assistant: Announcements from the referees should come permanently

It was also decided at the meeting that the IFAB General Assembly should vote on March 2, 2024 in Glasgow on whether the referees’ announcements should be permanently included in the rules. For example, FIFA tested the announcements at the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the 2023 Men’s Club World Cup.

Despite a few errors, the overall result was positive. If the General Assembly approves, all associations and leagues with video assistants would not be obliged to use the announcements in the stadium, but would have the option.

The IFAB advises and decides on the rules of football; the body is older than FIFA. When voting in the General Assembly, FIFA has four out of eight votes, with the British associations from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland having one each. A three-quarters majority is required to change the rules.

Violence prevention project from Württemberg may be expanded

The IFAB also approved an application from the DFB. He had asked to be allowed to expand a violence prevention project from the Württemberg Football Association (WFV) to the whole of Germany. The measure is called “Stop – five minute break!”

In some districts of the association, the referees are able to react to repeated aggressive game situations with up to two game interruptions of five minutes each. “It doesn’t matter whether the aggression comes from players, officials or the audience.”, says the WFV. The calming down in the five minutes is intended to help avoid game interruptions and calm conflicts prematurely. The referees can signal the interruption of the game with the “T” gesture, which is known from other sports.