FIFA Ammends Free Kick Rules and Goalkeeping Codes
At FIFA headquarters in Zurich, 23 February 2000, The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the group accountable for the Rules that govern the game, have confirmed modifications to existing rules of football which it is hoped will speed up the game and deter time wasting. On 9 February 2000 in England, during the 114th Annual General Meeting the Board amended Law 12, which pertains to Fouls and Misconduct. The result is that the old four step rule for the goalkeeper to release the ball will be replaced with a time limit of six seconds. The Board also agreed to continue testing an amendment regarding free kicks. The proposal submitted by the Football Association suggested that the position of a free kick could be moved toward the centre of the opposition's goal by a distance of 9,15 metres by the referee. This eventuality would be used in the event of a player from the penalised team: failing to respect the required distance; delaying the restart of the game by carrying, throwing or kicking the ball away; showing dissent by word or action, or indulging in any other form of unsporting behaviour. FIFA General Secretary, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, said that test so far carried out in lower leagues have heralded very positive results, however to implement such a monumental change at this stage would be untimely. The next test of this idea could be tried at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina and also in a major tournament in England as from next season. Hi-tech goal-line equipment will also be piloted in England. The exact technical details and specifications of the scheme are still to be confirmed, but such developments will aid officials to decide whether or not the entire ball has crossed the goal line between the posts and under the bar in contentious situations. In Malaysia, Brazil and in the Italian Cup experiments are to continue into the viability of two referees, while the United States' Major League and Egyptian league will also join the next phase of testing in spring 2000. Rule changes have also been implemented with regard substitutions. In friendly matches the potential for unlimited substitutions could be introduced providing the teams involved can reach an agreement about a maximum number and inform the referee before the match commenced. The changes agreed and entered into during the IFAB 114th Annual General Meeting, which includes the FA's of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and FIFA, will come into force on 1 July 2000.