Arsene Wenger wants to change the offside rule and use former footballers to help govern it

Simon Collings
Evening Standard
REUTERS
REUTERS

Arsene Wenger has announced plans to revolutionise the offside rule in a bid to end the controversy over VAR and backed the use of former players to make decisions.

At present, a player is offside if any part of their body with which they can score a goal is ahead of the last defender.

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The ruling has been questioned this season, however, following VAR’s ­introduction after players were ruled offside by the tightest of margins.

Now Wenger, in his role as Fifa’s chief of global ­football development, wants to change the offside law.

The International FA Board (IFAB), the game’s rulemakers, are due to meet on February 29 in Belfast and former ­Arsenal manager Wenger is suggesting a change to the offside law.

He proposes an attacker can be onside if any part of their body with which they can score is in line with the last defender.

Wenger said: “The most difficult thing that people have contested [with VAR] is the offside rule, being offside by a fraction of a centimetres.

“Maybe there is room to change a little bit the offside rule so you don’t say a part of a player’s nose was offside and you can score with part of your nose.

“Maybe you are not offside as long as any part of your body you can score with is in line with the defender — and not any more you are offside if any part of your body you can score with is in front of the defender. That would sort out maybe all these discussions about millimetres and part of your body being in front of the defender.”

The IFAB, who are made up of Fifa and the four British associations, will vote on the matter next week. Fifa have four votes to use, while the four British associations have one each. Six votes are needed to pass the motion.

Should it be passed, the new offside ruling could come into play from

June 1 if no trial period is enforced — meaning it would be in use at this ­summer’s European Championship Finals.

The Frenchman has further ideas he wishes to discuss on VAR and has backed former England manager Fabio Capello’s suggestion of using ex-players to officiate on decisions. “The ex-player knows the movement they have to do during contact with the ball, the contact with the opponent,” said Capello.

“This for the referee is more difficult to understand what happens. One old player or ex-players, they can help to take the correct decision.”

Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Wenger agrees with the Italian’s idea also believes VAR specialists — and not just regular referees — are needed going forward.

“We have not enough VAR specialists when you have to do all the games over the weekend,” said Wenger.

“That will improve very quickly. And I think former referees have to be involved. The idea of Fabio I take on board — maybe it is a good one — to use experienced players.”

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