Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33596

Other 8/25/2019

RE: Fan Adult

Dick Mohrmann of Bremerton, Washington USA asks...

If FIFA is the overall governing boby for soccer/football why is IFAB now in charge of the Laws of the Game?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Dick,
in reality it seems that no one gives up power easily! IFAB has been the guardians of the LOTG. FIFA is like a giant soccer association

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dick
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football or soccer as it is more widely know. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for the game and has since acted as the 'guardian' of the Laws. Since its establishment in 1904, FIFA, the sport's governing body, has recognised IFAB's jurisdiction and ownership over the Laws.
IFAB is a separate body from FIFA, though FIFA is represented on the board and holds voting powers. As a legacy of the games origins and the original Laws in the UK in the late 1800's the organisations represented on IFAB are the governing bodies of the game in the four UK association namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and also four FIFA nominees from associations worldwide.
For a period FIFA provided secretariat and publishing of the Laws for IFAB. In recent times with the difficulties being experienced by FIFA IFAB has re asserted its own control of the Laws with its own identity and management. Having said all that FIFA still exerts a fair degree of influence in what happens in IFAB through its voting rights and how the game is managed and run globally.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dick,
The IFAB, since it came into being in 1886, has always been in charge of the Laws. FIFA, since its inception in 1904 has always been concerned with the organisational/hierarchical aspects of football. FIFA have never been responsible for, or had authority over the laws of the Game. I suppose you could characterise it by saying that the IFAB is responsible for what happens on the field of play whereas FIFA is concerned with what happens off the field of play.

The IFAB however, used to be only an ad hoc entity. That is to say, IFAB did not have a permanent presence and in one sense, only 'existed' when its members convened for meetings, initially once a year at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and then latterly twice a year, for both an AGM and an Annual Business Meeting. Due to the IFAB's lack of an ongoing presence, FIFA which did have a more permanent existence, used to publish the Laws of the Game on behalf of the IFAB.

That arrangement changed after the IFAB set up a permanent structure, organisation and physical headquarters in 2014 and took on the job of publishing the Laws by themselves, starting with the 2016 edition.

Originally, the IFAB consisted of only the four 'home' nations: England, Ireland (later Northern Ireland) Scotland and Wales. Later on, FIFA became a member also. When it comes to voting on laws amendments, FIFA has four votes and the other four members have one vote each so FIFA cannot pass any laws changes by itself. However, neither can the home nations, so a consensus always has to be arrived at whereby 6 votes must be cast in favour before any law can be altered.

To sum up, the IFAB has been in charge of the Laws ever since 1886 but has only been publishing the Laws on their own since 2016. FIFA used to publish the Laws but was never the law governing body.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33596
Read other Q & A regarding Other

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.