The International Football Association Board (IFAB), world football’s independent legislative body, is reportedly debating whether to significantly change the offside rule.
The newly proposed rule would be closely aligned with the recommendations put forward by famous manager Arsène Wenger.
With the creation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), offside regulations have been updated and clarified in recent years, although they have remained virtually unchanged for decades.
VAR allowed a much more in-depth investigation into possible offsides. For this reason, many goals are disallowed because an attacker’s toe or bent knee puts him in an offside position.
Meticulous investigations into infractions and their impact on games have become increasingly irritating to fans. The system was intended to be put in place to remedy “clear and obvious errors” made by referees. But rather than doing that, it was used for the sole purpose of finding fault with them.
This not only sparked debates among football experts and fans, but also led to controversial decisions in real football matches.
What does the “Wenger Law” mean?
In accordance with current IFAB regulations, offside is defined as: “Any part of the head, body and feet is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent. » In simple terms, if any part of the attacker’s body, with which he can score, is ahead of the last defender, he is declared offside.
In other words, offside is called when any part of a player’s body likely to score (except the hands and arms) is in front of the penultimate opponent. The only other part of a player’s body that can be considered offside is the armpit area.
Due to VAR’s questionable choices, especially in high-stakes scenarios, this topic has become a hotly debated topic. However, Arsène Wenger, former Arsenal manager and current FIFA interim president responsible for world football development, has proposed changing the offside rule.
He wants to relax the rules a bit for attackers so that goals are not called back for minor infractions that provide no significant benefit to the defense. It has been reported by the Spanish newspaper that the Frenchman wants the rule to be changed such that the full body of the attacker must be in front of the final defender for a goal to be scored.
However, the ex-Arsenal The coach wants the regulations to be clarified so that an attacker whose foot is slightly “offside” is not classified as offside.
When could leagues start using it?
Football fans in the highest divisions would likely be relieved by the plan, as it would put an end to tedious assessments of different body parts by VAR. However, this would also add a subjective aspect to the debates, which could potentially increase the debate around the use of VAR in the long term.
According to the proposal, the change will be implemented in time for the 2024-25 season if approved.
The new offside regulations, dubbed ‘the Wenger Law’, will be tested for the first time in Sweden’s men’s under-21 league and women’s under-19 league. The Netherlands and Italy have pledged to test the Wenger Law in the future.
Wenger first introduced the revised offside rule to the IFAB in 2021, with tests taking place in the lower tiers of Chinese football leagues the following year.
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