Trials to stop players surrounding referees during heated moments could get the green light at a meeting of football’s governing body in London on Tuesday.
Tackling participant bad behavior is a top priority for the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and it will be the dominant topic at the organisation’s annual business meeting at a Heathrow hotel.
Players surrounding referees and assistants after controversial incidents have become commonplace in modern football, but the IFAB is determined to limit contact in such situations to respectful dialogue between the referee and team captain .
It remains to be seen how this will be achieved, with the IFAB willing to carry out some initial testing in the amateur game to determine the practicalities and iron out the unintended consequences of any new restrictions.
On November 28, the IFAB Annual Business Meeting will take place in London. The agenda is now confirmed.
– The IFAB (@TheIFAB) November 21, 2023
One consideration is the creation of a “no-go zone” around an official that only a captain can enter, but testing will be needed to see how effective and practical this is in reality.
Approval for trials in top-level competitions could be granted on Tuesday following these initial tests, with lawmakers keen to act quickly on the issue.
Sanctions against bad behavior, which have been used in grassroots youth football, could also be extended to the adult amateur game, while measures to tackle mass clashes between teams, such as periods of cooling, will also be discussed.
Guidance could also be issued regarding stricter enforcement of existing laws of the game that combat time wasting, such as better enforcement of the six-second rule for goalkeepers to release the ball and the treatment and assessment “tactical injuries” designed to break the ball. dynamics of the game.
In March, the IFAB issued guidelines for all competitions to more accurately calculate time lost due to stoppages, following a concerted effort to do so at the World Cup final last year’s men’s competition in Qatar.
A discussion will also take place on updating the handball law for next season. The law could be changed so that an unintentional handball that destroys a clear scoring opportunity is only punished with a yellow card instead of a red, and an unintentional handball that stops a promising attack receives no card. .
The IFAB Board is also expected to receive a brief update on the ongoing ongoing concussion substitution trial.
Global players’ union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Forum have already called for a trial of temporary concussion substitutes, but it is not even possible for such a trial to take place until ongoing testing of permanent concussion substitutes concussions have not been completed and trial data have not been obtained. been fully analyzed.
The IFAB announced last month that a group had been established to carry out a review of the VAR protocols, and there should also be time to hear an update on the group’s progress.