IFAB rule makers want deeper dive on concussion thinking and better VAR communication

December 4 – Concussion substitutes, improving player behaviour and tweaks to VAR were among the topics discussed when the International Football Association Board (IFAB) held its Annual Business Meeting (ABM) in Belfast, Tuesday.

No firm decisions were put in place since that is the role of the AGM in the spring (next year on February 29) which will ultimately decide which  proposals and recommendations will become part of the laws of the game as of 1 June 2020.

Among the attendees was former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, attending his first IFAB meeting since his appointment as FIFA’s new Chief of Global Football Development.

Wenger is also a member of IFAB’s football and technical advisory panels and he and the rest of football’s lawmakers agreed to appoint an expert group comprising medical and football specialists to delve deeper into the issue of concussion and identify various options.

There was a detailed update on the worldwide use of video assistant referees and in particular the growing demand for more information immediately after a VAR review. One of the options discussed was to allow referees to communicate directly to supporters. The current laws of the game prevent an open audio channel between referees and non-match officials.

Wenger wants the Premier League to end its resistance to the use of pitchside VAR monitors. “The referee needs a monitor to check if he was right or wrong,” he said. “For me, that is the most important worry. The referees on the field are there because they have the experience and they are confident.”

But, he said, there were more pros than cons of VAR.

“I honestly believe it is working much better than people think because I have witnessed many bad decisions before. Let’s not forget it is in its first year, so of course everything is not perfect. The adjustments will come. You have to educate people in the VAR to get them to intervene at the right moment.”

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