Aaron Hughes, the Irish FA’s Technical Director, has joined one of The International Football Association Board’s advisory panels.
IFAB is the organisation which serves football globally as the independent guardian of the Laws of the Game.
Its Football Advisory Panel consists of former players, former and current coaches, technical directors and representatives from other football organisations who support the decision-making process when it comes to changing any laws/rules or introducing new ones.
IFAB also has a Technical Advisory Panel which includes leading refereeing experts from all of FIFA’s confederations and members of IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee, which recommends law changes.
Former Northern Ireland captain Hughes was appointed as Technical Director at the Irish Football Association last November.
As part of his role Hughes focuses on continuous improvement of elite football in Northern Ireland through the creation of a high performance culture.
His wide-ranging remit covers men’s and women’s football. His responsibilities also include overseeing player development and providing strategic guidance to further enhance the sport.
Hughes, who won 112 caps for Northern Ireland over a 20-year period and played for Newcastle United, Fulham, Aston Villa and Hearts among others, was initially welcomed to the IFAB fold at a virtual meeting of both advisory panels last month.
The fruits of that meeting were discussed at IFAB’s Annual Business Meeting, held in London yesterday, which focused on measures to improve participant behaviour in football and increase respect for match officials.
Following the recommendations made in October by the football and technical advisory panels, the ABM supported a proposed trial whereby only the team captain may approach the referee in certain major game situations.
In addition it was agreed that temporary dismissals (sin bins) for dissent and specific tactical offences should be trialled at higher levels, following their successful implementation in grassroots football. Protocols and a system for trialling will now be developed.
The stricter application of the Laws of the Game against players and coaches who demonstrate disrespectful conduct and the better management of mass confrontations were also among the measures discussed, with further trials to be developed.
The members were also updated on a successful trial involving match officials wearing body cameras at grassroots level, which had been introduced to deter instances of serious misconduct towards match officials.
The members agreed on the need to continue to develop semi-automated offside technology to assist on-field match officials to speed up decision making in relation to offside situations.
It was also agreed that after the successful VAR decision communication trial conducted by FIFA, in which the referee announces the final decision after a VAR review, the AGM in March should consider including this effective measure in the Laws of the Game.
IFAB is made up of the four British football associations and FIFA, covering the remaining 207 affiliated national associations.