IN 1886, the International Football Association Board was formed to provide ‘universal’ laws of the game, for teams in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

In 1913 FIFA, joined, meaning almost all the world’s footballing nations were bound to play to the same Laws.

As it says in the present Laws of the Game, ‘How the game is played and refereed should be the same on every football field in the world from the FIFA World Cup final, to the smallest village’.

But then we had modifications.

First these were restricted to size of the field of play, size, weight and material of the ball, size of the goals and duration of the game, for those who found the requirements too onerous.

This meant young people under 16 years of age, women (since retracted), veterans over 35 years of age and people with disabilities.

However, in recent years, grass roots football has been added, with modifications moving into other aspects of the game.

Returnable substitutes, increase in the number of substitutes that can be used with no limit in youth football and an extra substitute used when the game goes to extra time.

Now competitions at grass roots level can use sin-bins.

But in England It will only be used for dissent, while the IFAB have made it available for any cautionable offence.

So a different or much wider use of sin-bins can be used in other countries, including perhaps in Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

Referees at higher levels are taking into consideration ‘what the game expects’.

The Premier League instructed their referees to give free-kicks for some accidental handballs before it became Law.

Other major leagues could alter Laws that are not’ acceptable’ to them or may have done so already.

Put that lot together and you have to ask whether the football played and refereed at the World Cup Final, will indeed be the same as that played in the smallest village or your local rec.

Will, in fact, football ever be the same again?