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Arsene Wenger Proposes to change offside rule

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Arsene Wenger Proposes to change offside rule

Former Arsenal manager and current FIFA head of global development Arsene Wenger has laid out his vision for a revised offside rule, and the changes could be made ahead of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. 

Wenger advocated a less strict definition of the rule, in which any part of the body that can be used to legally score that is in line with the last defender would keep a player onside:

“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 rule is similar to the “daylight” principle often used by fans, meaning one has to be able to see space between the last defender and the attacker to deem a situation offside.

The current rule states that an attacker is offside when any body part that can be used to score a goal is deemed beyond the last defender.

The introduction of VAR has led to plenty of controversial incidents, with replays scrutinising the smallest details. Because attackers can score with their shoulder or head, officials have to take into account players leaning and can’t just look at where their feet are.

Changes to the current rule are likely, but Arsene Wenger’s proposal wouldn’t solve much, and the timing means there’s little chance any change would come before Euro 2020.

Changing rules ahead of a major international tournament can lead to even more problems. A change to the handball rule led to numerous controversial penalties at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with players struggling to adapt and VAR intervening at an alarming rate.

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