Bloomberg News

FIFA Task Force Considered Scrapping Soccer’s Rule-Making Body

May 28, 2012

The German official in charge of reorganizing some of soccer’s administration said he considered scrapping the 126-year-old body that decides the sport’s rules.

Theo Zwanziger, a member of FIFA’s executive board, was asked by the Zurich-based organization’s president to head a task force to look into reforming the statutes. One of his suggestions is adding more members to the International Football Association Board, which is responsible for the game’s laws.

Currently, the four so-called U.K. home nations -- England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland -- each have a vote, while FIFA has four. Zwanziger, in an interview in Budapest, said he’d like it to become more democratic after deciding against a suggestion that it be scrapped.

“It looks like IFAB will continue,” Zwanziger said. “We initially considered dissolving it but now IFAB, which has historic and important values, will be preserved.”

Some soccer officials have said the U.K. voters’ influence on IFAB doesn’t reflect the modern game. FIFA welcomed South Sudan as its 209th member at its annual meeting three days ago. The rule-making group has the power to change laws, such as those on offside, and is currently poised to give the go-ahead for goal-line technology.

The structure of IFAB developed from the 19th-century history of the sport. FIFA, when it was established in 1904, said it would adhere to the laws of the sport as laid out by the body 18 years earlier.

‘Special Role’

“Of course the Brits, who have great merits in football, would have a special role, but maybe the special role wouldn’t be as strong as it is right now,” Zwanziger said. “At the moment, nothing can be decided against the British representatives. And I have to say: Here are 209 and they ask ‘How can that be, we also have contributed to football?”’

A newly constituted body may also include representatives of the media or technical specialists from soccer, Zwanziger added.

A decision on the reform of FIFA’s statutes is set for next year when the U.K.’s guarantee of one of FIFA’s four vice- president positions may also be scrapped.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tariq Panja in London on at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net


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