Sat, 11 Apr 2020

Arsene Wenger's offside idea: Yay or nay?

News24
21 Feb 2020, 23:12 GMT+10

Cape Town - Former Premier League manager Arsene Wenger has strong ideas regarding the game we all love - and those ideas have the football fraternity split.

Since his departure from Arsenal at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, the now 70-year-old has been open to a return to the dugout.

However, despite reported offers from various clubs and national sides, Wenger has opted to enjoy life as a football pundit and more recently accepted a position at FIFA.

In his current administrative role as FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development, he has been vocal regarding the modern game, especially since the introduction of the much debated Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

At the recent Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin, Wenger was once again his honest self with the media with his belief that the current offside rule needs to be amended.

Wenger has a suggestion that he believes would make it easier for VAR and the game going forward.

"The most difficult (issue) that people have (with VAR) is the offside rule," Wenger said.

"You have had offsides by a fraction of a centimetre, literally by a nose.

"There is room to change the rule and not say that a part of a player's nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that. Instead, you will not be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the attacker's body are in front.

"That will sort it out and you will no longer have decisions about millimetres and a fraction of the attacker being in front of the defensive line."

The current offside rule states: "A player is in an offside position if: any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents' half (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent. The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered offside."

Thanks to VAR, the offside calls have been spot-on in the Premier League this campaign.

In all 520 matches this season so far (each team has played 26 matches) 27 goals were ruled out for offside while 7 goals were awarded after incorrect offside calls.

Some of these offside calls have been fractionally close and on Monday night, Olivier Giroud's disallowed strike was the perfect example.

The Chelsea striker's foot was offside, but the linesman did not pick it up while the Manchester United players did not even appeal whether it was offside or not - it was that close!

However, a routine VAR check is always in place and when displayed on screen, it was the correct call.

This is where Wenger's argument comes in and why he believes the offside rule needs to change.

I've taken time to digest Wenger's suggestion as I respect his views and his experience is second to none.

However, I cannot see it working.

We've seen multiple rules amended in rugby and cricket over the years and even soccer has undergone some changes to make the game more palatable.

There are many issues with VAR, but I believe the current offside rule is the least of its problems.

So, let's keep it moving, the offside rule doesn't need changing.

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