Arsene Wenger‘s radical idea to change the offside rule – which would see a player deemed onside if any part of them that can score a goal is in line with the second-last defender – has been presented to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The former Arsenal manager is now FIFA’s chief of global football development and is leading the charge to change how the beautiful game is played.
Infantino said Wenger had given a presentation on a proposed change to the offside law – with the controversial idea being considered by FIFA’s top men.
Arsene Wenger’s idea to change offsides has been presented to FIFA chief Gianni Infantin
Infantino said the offside law had only been changed twice since it was introduced in 1863.
However, the speed of the game and availability of VAR at the highest levels meant that the offside rule could be reviewed again to favour attacking teams.
‘Our aim is always to see if we can make football more attractive,’ Infantino said.
‘Arsene Wenger presented to us today what this could look like. It could be if the attacking player is ahead of the second last defender but still one part of the body is in line, giving the attacking player a bit more room. It is in favour of the attacking player.’
Infantino said that on average there were four offsides per game in the Premier League and this change would reduce the number to two.
Wenger wants to change the offside rule so that a player would be deemed onside if any part of them that can score a goal is in line with the second-last defender
‘The new rule would mean two are not given because they are marginal,’ he added.
No timescale was given on the trials or changes. ‘Such a change will have to be tested,’ said Infantino.
‘If positive we might go ahead, but if negative we might step back. But we are always open to new ideas if we can make football more attacking.’
David Ellery, former Premier League referee and technical director of IFAB said: ‘The test will be if any part of your body apart from the hand or arms is level with or behind the second last defender you would not be offside.’
While offsides have been scrutinised as of late, the way VAR is being implemented in England has also come under attack.
Infantino confirmed that Wenger presented his ideas to FIFA and football’s law-makers
Scott Parker’s Fulham side were denied an equalising goal against Tottenham, with Davinson Sanchez’s clearance striking Mario Lemina on the arm, which was by his side, before eventually falling into Josh Maja’s feet to score past Hugo Lloris.
WENGER’S RADICAL RULE CHANGES
Throw-ins – Teams should be able to kick the ball back into play instead of throwing it back in, if they are inside their own half.
Offside – An attacker would not be offside if any part of their body with which they are allowed to score, such as a foot, head or shoulder, is in line with the penultimate defender.
Corners – Kicks which curve out of play and then back in again should be permitted.
Free-kicks – Players should be able to touch the ball to themselves to restart play, not be forced to pass to a team-mate.
Parker said VAR was ‘killing every part’ of the excitement and emotion in football in the wake of his side’s defeat by Spurs.
But Infantino launched a staunch defence of the system on Friday, saying: ‘VAR is giving and bringing more justice to the game, making the game more clean and helping referees in taking the correct decisions.
‘If it is taking away joy from some it gives the joy to others (when a decision is changed in favour of their team).
‘Everyone prefers to win a game based on the right decision of the referee.
‘It is unimaginable to think of football without VAR.’
The IFAB also clarified the interpretation of the offside law, saying the definition for handball, whereby the arm ends at the bottom of the armpit, must be used when judging whether a player is offside or not.
Chelsea’s Timo Werner was denied a goal against Liverpool on Thursday night when VAR ruled his arm had been offside in the build-up.
Infantino revealed semi-automated offside technology was trialled at the recent Club World Cup and said he ‘cannot exclude’ the possibility of it being used at the 2022 World Cup.
Wenger revealed his controversial ideas last year, which included changing throw-ins to ‘kick-ins’, out-swinging corner kicks being allowed to go out of play before curling back in and free-kicks would be allowed to be taken with the player passing it to themselves.