The International FA Board (IFAB) has rejected former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s call for a change to the offside rule ahead of this summer’s European Championships. IFAB is the body empowered to change football rules and determine the laws of the game of association football.
In order to end the controversy over Video Assistant Referee (VAR), Wenger called for a change to the offside rule and also supported the use of ex-footballers to review VAR. The Frenchman’s proposal suggested that a player would be said to be onside if any part of his/her body is level or behind 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 centimeter.
“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 anymore 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 millimeters and part of your body being in front of the defender.”
FIFA’s chief of global football also backed the suggestion of former England manager Fabio Capello to use former players to officiate on decisions. Wenger noted that VAR specialists should be used going forward and not just regular referees.
“We have not enough VAR specialists when you have to do all the games over the weekend,” said Wenger.
FutballNews understands that an offside occurs when a player’s part of their body with which they can score a goal is ahead of the last defender. With the introduction of the VAR, more controversy has emerged in most leagues after players were ruled offside by the tightest of margins.
Some of the law changes made by IFAB before the 2019/20 season are dropped ball, free kicks, goal celebrations, goal kick, handball, kick-off, Medical Breaks, penalty kick, and some others.
The IFAB, who are made up of Fifa and the four British associations, are due to meet on February 29 in Belfast and will vote on the matter. Fifa have four votes to use, while the four British associations have one each. Six votes are needed to pass the motion.
Speaking to Sky Sports News on Wednesday, IFAB general secretary Lukas Brud said the body will not be changing any law regarding offside at the annual general meeting of the body. He, however, said the body welcome Wenger’s view on the offside rule.
Brud said: “There will be no law change regarding offside at this month’s annual general meeting.
“We welcome Mr Wenger’s views and look forward to discussing it, as a group.
“But our AGM is a point of discussion on offside and any law change will follow only after further dialogue in the game over the coming months.”
However, Wenger has clarified his comment on the offside rule proposal in a FIFA statement on Wednesday night.
He said: “My objective, as well as FIFA’s, is to continuously think about ways to improve our game and we shouldn’t be afraid to debate them in public.
“But I am well aware that any rules changes are subject to a standard approval process, which include discussions with stakeholders and potential test phases, within the scope of the established IFAB framework.”