Former Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team head coach Jamaal Shabazz will spend the next two years helping to shape the laws of the world’s most popular sport, as the Morvant Caledonia United co-owner revealed his appointment to the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) football advisory panel.
The IFAB, which comprises of a member each from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and FIFA, is the only body authorised to make changes to the laws of the game and is technically independent from the world governing body—although the latter organisation has a 50 per cent vote on all board matters while a 75 per cent threshold is required from all members to make amendments.
The IFAB describes itself as ‘the independent guardian of the Laws of the Game […] with the goal to improve and develop the game for players, match officials and fans while protecting and strengthening the spirit and simplicity of football’.
Shabazz, who campaigned for Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams at the last general election and for his failed bid for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) presidency, effectively replaces compatriot and former World Cup 2006 goalkeeper Shaka Hislop on the prestigious committee.
Hislop, once the England Premier League’s most expensive goalkeeper and now an analyst for ESPN, saw his two-year term with IFAB end earlier this month. During his tenure, the IFAB implemented the VAR (video assistant referees) system as well as allowed for the use of a fourth substitute and changed the rule for handball.
Hislop served alongside several household football names like former Croatia and AC Milan star midfielder Zvonimir Boban, ex-South Korea stand out Ji Song Park, former World Cup and Champions League champion Christian Karembeu and two former Trinidad and Tobago coaches Francisco Maturana and Carolina Morace.
“It was an honour to serve the game in this capacity and at this level,” said Hislop. “The opportunity has given me a better appreciation of the game’s inner workings and decision making processes.”
It is now Shabazz’s turn at the head table. The former Jamaat Al-Muslimeen insurrectionist who went on to serve his country as coach of an array of national football teams—and with a successful stint in Guyana as well—will travel business class to Europe over the next two years to help decide on the future laws of the game.
Shabazz’s appointment came on the recommendation of Concacaf while his appointment letter said his selection was based on his ‘profound football background, experience and expertise’.
Shabazz, who resigned from the Women Soca Warriors in July, declined comment on his new post.