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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football.



IFAB is made up of representatives from each of the United Kingdom's pioneering football associations — England's Football Association (The FA), the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Northern Ireland's Irish Football Association (IFA) — and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body for football. Each UK association has one vote and FIFA has four. IFAB deliberations must be approved by at least six votes. Thus, FIFA's approval is necessary for any IFAB decision, but FIFA alone cannot change the Laws of the Game; they need to be agreed by at least two of the UK members.

The Board meets twice a year, once to decide on possible changes to the rules governing the game of Football and once to deliberate on its internal affairs. The first meeting is called the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the second is the Annual Business Meeting (ABM). Four weeks before the AGM, the member associations must send their written proposals to the secretary of the host association. FIFA then prints a list of suggestions that are distributed to all other associations for examination. The AGM is held either in February or March and the ABM is held between September and October.[1]

The decisions of each year's Annual General Meeting of the Board regarding changes to the Laws of the Game are binding for confederations and member associations as from 1 July but confederations or member associations whose current season has not ended by 1 July may delay the introduction of the adopted alterations to the Laws of the Game in their competitions until the beginning of their next season.[2]


Though the rules of football had largely been standardised by the early 1880s, the UK's four football associations still each had slightly different rules. This posed a problem with international matches and when matches were played the rules of whoever was the home team were used. While this solution was workable, it was hardly ideal. To remedy this, the FA, SFA, FAW and the IFA met on 6 December 1882 in Manchester, in order to set forth a common set of rules that could be applied to matches between the UK football associations' national teams. The conference created the first international competition, the British Home Championship, and proposed the establishment of a permanent board to regulate the laws of the game throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

Therefore, the first meeting of IFAB took place at the FA's offices at Holborn Viaduct in London on Wednesday June 2, 1886 [3][4]. The FA, SFA, FAW and IFA each had equal voting rights.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international organising body for the sport, was formed in Paris in 1904 and declared that they would adhere to the rules laid down by IFAB. The growing popularity of the game internationally led to the admittance of FIFA representatives to IFAB in 1913. Initially, they only had two votes — the same number as each of UK associations — and decisions required a four-fifths majority to pass, meaning that the UK could still change the laws against FIFA's wishes if they all voted together. In 1958, the Board agreed on its current voting system, with each UK association having one vote, FIFA four and six votes being required to carry any motion.


  1. ^ FIFA paper on the role of the IFAB
  2. ^ FIFA Statutes
  3. ^
  4. ^ - History of The FA

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