The Football Association has welcomed a proposal to improve decision-making and provide greater transparency around the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
At the IFAB annual general meeting in Edinburgh, under the chairmanship of the Scottish FA, the future of the law-making body was under discussion. It followed a request for self-reform as part of FIFA’s governance reform proposals at the FIFA Congress 2011.
A lengthy and detailed review took place which also involved the other three British associations and FIFA. But while the composition of the IFAB will remain unchanged, it was agreed that greater levels of consultation within the game are required.
FA General Secretary Alex Horne said: “These are good meetings. It was quite a light agenda this year but you don’t have to change things for changes sake. We are pleased with where we got to.
“The important debate today was around the structure of the IFAB going forward. We have worked hard trying to improve the process but we also have to protect what we believe is right, that the IFAB works as a venerable, austere body.
"I think if you are dealing with the laws of the game, you want to be conservative."
To improve consultation, the IFAB agreed to the formation of two new advisory panels. The first was a technical panel comprising refereeing experts from across the globe. The second was a football panel, composed of around 20 former players and coaches, current coaches, FIFAPro and Confederation technical directors.
And in a bid to provide greater clarity from the organisation, the proposals also included additional executive secretarial support, with a unit reporting to FIFA’s Secretary General. This will include a distinct IFAB identity through an external web platform, detailing all minutes, timelines for decisions, progress on consultation or pilots, and the rationale for the rejection of any proposals.
Horne added: “IFAB makes sense but we recognise that it is also not very transparent at times.
"I am not sure we consult football people very well. I sat on the task force that FIFA set up after South Africa. You have fascinating debates with footballers, coaches and referees on key matters but to find alternatives that everyone thinks will be better is hard work.
“The basic idea is two consultation groups, one football and one made up of referees to give us more input, which can only be beneficial."
A presentation was also made to the six Confederation general secretaries in Zürich on 26 February and this will be presented to the FIFA Congress 2013 in Mauritius on 30-31 May.