Offside rule set to be turned on its head by Arsene Wenger following season of VAR outrage

Offside rule set to be turned on its head by Arsene Wenger following season of VAR outrage

The offside rule is set to undergo dramatic changes which could revolutionise the game ahead of next season.

Following months of VAR disallowing goals for an offside toe or armpit, a new rule will see players ruled onside if any part of their body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender.

VAR was the main talking point during Man United’s victory over Chelsea on Monday

Getty Images – Getty

VAR was the main talking point during Man United’s victory over Chelsea on Monday

The move would shift the benefit of the doubt back in favour of the attacker, who could be onside by virtue of a toe under the proposed law, even if the rest of their body is ahead of the last defender.

The game-changing adjustments to the laws will be presided over by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, and put in place for next season.

Wenger effectively rules as boss of the International FA Board, who reside over football’s laws.

He said: “You will be not 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.”

Wenger will lead the changes as part of his new role at FIFA

Getty Images – Getty

Wenger will lead the changes as part of his new role at FIFA

Under the current rule, players are deemed offside if any part of their body they can score with is beyond the line of the last defender when the ball is played.

The change proposes to flip that rule on its head, with FIFA keen to get rid of the farce surrounding offside under its current description.

Ifab will meet in Belfast on February 29 to vote on the law change, which needs six votes out of eight to pass.

FIFA, led by Wenger, holds four of the votes, with the other four coming from the home nations – the FA, SFA, FA of Wales and Irish FA – who are all expected to back the new idea.

If Wenger gets his three-quarter majority, the new law could come into effect on June 1 and put into use at Euro 2020.

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was flagged offside before putting the ball in the net against Aston Villa and the decision was confirmed by VAR

The red line signifies Firmino and was aligned to his armpit, which was marginally ahead of the last Villa defender#AVLLIV pic.twitter.com/a2OnNWnz2E

— Premier League (@premierleague) November 2, 2019

The Premier League has seen various goals ruled out for the most marginal offsides this season, such as when Roberto Firmino was flagged offside after scoring in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa in November.

The decision went to the video assistant referee, who did not overturn the official’s decision due to Firmino’s ARMPIT being marginally offside.

Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday night was overshadowed by several contentious VAR decisions, one of which saw an Olivier Giroud goal disallowed because his toe was offside.

However, there are fears that the new law could result in the same lengthy checks, just for the opposite reasons, for example – checking to see if a player’s toe or armpit is onside.


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