Offside rule: Arsenal icon Arsene Wenger presents new law change, explains FIFA president


Arsene Wenger is one of the most revolutionary thinkers in the beautiful game.

It’s remarkable to recall that Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 1996 as a relative unknown, but waved goodbye to the club in 2018 having left an indelible impact on the Premier League as a whole.

His attitude towards training, man-management and nutrition changed the way that coaches looked at English football – and age has done nothing to dampen his inventor’s spirit.

Wenger’s revolutionary ideas

It seems unlikely now that Wenger will ever return to the technical area, but his fingerprints can still be found all over the sport after being appointed as Fifa’s Chief of Global Football Development.

And with the introduction of VAR having stoked the flames of football controversy more than ever, it seems as though Wenger could be tinkering with the face of the sport itself in accordance.

That’s because it has been confirmed that football’s lawmakers, International Football Association Board (Ifab), are trialling a revolutionary idea by the former Arsenal manager.


New offside rule?

Mere hours after Timo Werner controversially had a goal ruled out during Liverpool vs Chelsea, it seems as though attackers could be just a few tweaks away from securing a huge win in the law books.

That’s because Wenger is campaigning to alter the rules so that the attacking player is onside if any body part with which they can use to score is level with the second-last opponent.

The Times confirmed that the go-ahead has been given for FIFA to push ahead with trials of the new offside rule that are set to take place in a Chinese league.

And you can get a clear visualisation of how Wenger’s new law would work by checking graphics created by Sky Sports and ESPN’s Dale Johnson of moves that would now be ‘onside’.


Infantino discusses Wenger’s rule

Interesting, huh? But don’t just take our word for it because Fifa president Gianni Infantino confirmed the proposed trial during Ifab’s AGM on Friday, according to the Evening Standard.

“Our aim as Ifab, and I am speaking under the control of my colleagues from Ifab, is always to see if we can make football more attractive – without changing the nature, obviously, of football,” Infantino said.

“When it comes to the offside law, with the change in the game, with the speed in the game, with also the introduction of VAR – which makes it clear when there is an offside and when there is not – without VAR, the referees were having the instructions in case of doubt, you let go.

“We have been seeing that maybe we can think about a new law which allows a bit more attack in football. 


“And Arsene Wenger presented to us today as well what this could look like and obviously, in summary, it is if the attacking player is ahead of the last defender, or second-last player, but still with one part of the body that can score inline with the defender.

“So it is giving the attacking player a bit more room and so favouring attacking football. Obviously such a change would need to be tested. We have to see what kind of impact this will have on the game – if positive, if negative.

“If it is positive, we might go ahead. If it is negative, we step back. But we are always here, like we did for VAR, to be open to new ideas and if we can make football even more attacking, even more passionate, then we certainly look into that.

“From there to say what is going to happen in a few years from now, we will see.”


So, nothing is signed and sealed quite yet, but make no mistake that Wenger’s plans for the offside rule are by no means a pipe dream and could well wiggle their way into the professional game itself.

Only time will tell whether it works out or not and it certainly wouldn’t end all the VAR controversy, but you can bet that it will have the world’s best strikers rubbing their hands together…

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