The Laws of the Game

Football (aka soccer) has been governed by written “laws” since the first British Football Assocation rules were drafted in 1863. The development and expansion of the laws later became the job of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), established in 1882, which unified the four football associations in the United Kingdom.The sport became known as “Association Football.”

In 1904 seven european countries established FIFAFédération Internationale de Football Association. Nine years later, FIFA joined the IFAB and was given a controlling vote in the new organization. The organization became the sport’s world governing body.

FIFA, now based in Zurich, is comprised of 209 member associations. Its governing bodies include a Congress, Executive Committee, and a General Secretariat.The IFAB reviews and modifies the sport’s rules annually. The current Laws of the Game have been in force since June 1, 2014.This 140-page document details the requirements for equipment, the rules of play, and guidelines for referees.

Under FIFA’s “Statutes” the organization recognizes the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “to resolve disputes between FIFA, Members, Confederations, Leagues, clubs, Players, Officials and licensed match agents and players’ agents.” CAS decisions related to football may be found here.

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