No goal-line technology, but who writes the rules?

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta

The 2009 IFAB meeting (Photo:

Goal-line technology will not be introduced in football after the board that governs the game’s rules voted against the proposition.

The issue of technology was put back on the agenda following Thierry Henry’s handball during a World Cup qualifier which helped France advance to the tournament at Ireland’s expense. But the body that determines the laws of the game, the International Football Association Board, concluded that “technology should not enter into football,” and “we should trust and keep it as a human game.”

The IFAB, which is made up of representatives from FIFA and the Football Associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, voted against the use of the goal-line technology which had been developed following the board’s approval. The English and Welsh associations were the only two backing the introduction of the system.

In order for a new rule or an alteration to be introduced into the world game, it must be voted in by a majority of at least three-quarters. FIFA have four votes with the other associations having one each, meaning that at least six of the eight must be in favour of a new item for it to be passed.

Rules which the board has introduced in the past include the back pass rule, the different interpretations of the offside Law and punishment for tackles from behind.

FIFA itself describes the IFAB as “somewhat secretive” but states that this mysterious aura is purely down to its “decisive influence on the rules of the world’s most popular sport without ever appearing in the foreground.”

The board, which meets twice a year, possesses an enormous influence in the running of the world game. But despite the diffusion of the sport across the globe, it is still made up of its original British representatives — a fact which FIFA describes as “an abiding acknowledgement of the historic significance of the British associations in world football.”

The rules of the game have undergone little change since the board was created in 1848, which is down to its “conservative yet far-sighted attitude,” according to FIFA.

The board’s 125th Annual General Meeting will take place at Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales between 4 and 6 March 2011.


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