Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has proposed a re-write of the offside law as it pertains to VAR in the hope of bringing an end to controversial borderline decisions.
It has been revealed that Wenger, who took up a position as Fifa's chief of global football in November, is working with his colleagues at the International Football Association Board (IFAB) on changing the directives on how offside should be interpreted by Video Assistant Referees following a catalogue of contentiously marginal decisions this season.
The Frenchman argues that current rules unfairly favour defenders and that attacking players should be deemed onside if any part of their body with which they can score a goal is in line with the last opponent.
He has also proposed that former players could be brought in to augment the number of qualified VAR officials reviewing incidents.
“There is room to change the rule a little bit and not say that a part of a player's nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that," Wenger said.
“Instead, 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 because you will no longer have decisions about millimetres and a fraction of the attacker being in front of the defensive line.”
"At the moment, in what is the first period when we have used this technology, there are not enough VAR specialists who can cover every game over the weekend,” he added.
“It will be improved very quickly if we change the protocols, so that we can use former players in the VAR room.”
Even if they are accepted — the publication of the Frenchman's plans has met with some significant scepticism that it will improve the situation — Wenger's proposals won't be implemented before this summer's European Championships, a fact he has subsequently admitted.
Lukas Brud, head of IFAB, has told ESPN that it is "impossible" for Wenger's changes to be introduced in time for next season or Euro2020.
"It is not up for approval to come into the Laws of the Game," Brud said. "We have a very strict procedure that we introduced a few years ago that any proposal has to be submitted usually on or before 1 November of the previous year in order for us to be able to discuss a proposal in detail with the relevant bodies, such as our Advisory Panels — the Football and the Technical. The Board of Directors then takes a decision on which proposals go forward to the AGM for approval.
"I'm not judging the proposal, it might be a good one, but this is not up for approval or for a vote as a concrete proposal to go into the Laws of the Game, it's impossible.
"The meeting is also to discuss football and some ideas, and the AGM could say ok, this might be something we want to discuss further, or give it to the [advisory] panels to get their point of view and maybe do some trialling. But it won't be used at the Euro as reported by some media."
Reader Comments (77)
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1 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:06:47
Exactly how it should have been defined all along.
What's not to like?
3 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:22:27
Other than leading to more goals (not necessarily a bad thing), I don't see how this improves the process of consistent decision making?
4 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:25:43
5 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:32:28
Me, I'd just completely bin it as it still takes the spontaneity out of the game
6 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:41:52
FIFA has 4 votes, and the UK FAs have 1 each. So FIFA has 50% of the voting rights. The threshold for change is 75% meaning that FIFA needs 2 of the home nations FAs to agree to change. Or to put it another way, the home nations cannot gang up on FIFA.
The Board meets in 10 days, in Belfast. No doubt Wenger will be the voice of the FA and VAR will be top of the agenda. Let's see what the stuffy old suits make of his proposals.
7 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:51:03
8 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:59:16
9 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:06:08
There needs to be a margin of error field of a few mm that gives the attacker the benefit of the doubt. All this ''his nose was offside'' is ridiculous when the exact moment cannot of delivery cannot be captured with certainty.
I hope Arsene and FIFA address this rule and make it simpler for fans and Refs to deal with.
With regards to VAR and subjective decisions, are things any better referring to a VAR ref for an outside opinion ? It often would be better for the ref just to have a look at the pitchside monitor and decide himself.
10 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:09:57
11 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:13:50
It would redefine 'level with the last defender' as 'any body part of the attacker level with any body part of the last defender' — thus requiring clear daylight between them, which is surely far better than what we currently have.
Of course there would still be toenail margins, but the basic intent of the law would be put into practice in a much clearer and more logical way.
12 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:14:02
That seems a fair question. Or will it be easier to see daylight between trailing heel and defender's body, than to see if there is actually any overlap between the body parts of defender and attacker as now.
One issue that remains is the poor image resolution when a decision is being considered.
13 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:14:56
However, clubs and players will always bicker and protest no matter what system is used. One only has to see how many times they dispute a ref's call for a foul tackle.
14 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:15:05
I recently did a job with some Italian lads and it seems they have similar issues over there. Both lads mentioned the spontaneity being taken away, time taken for decisions. They did say that the ref seemed to get more involved rather than leaving it up to faceless, nameless people in some studio.
15 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:45:00
No point in having assistant referees (linesman) other than for throw-ins. They have no chance of knowing if someone is offside by an inch.
The only point of VAR is money,, imo: if the rules are not the same for all football matches, then they shouldn't be implemented in any. No VAR in the Championship, let alone in the Sunday league, and there will never be.
It's here to stay, though, in the top competitions; more money for the FA and FA officials, more bets to put on, and it will maybe make its way to lower leagues, but will never be across the board.
It wouldn't be so bad if the decisions you see, week-in & week out, were called correctly by the VAR officials, but we still have inconsistency. It's still based on personal opinion: one ref will say it's not a foul; one ref will say it is. One pundit (ex-pro) will say it's a foul; one won't. Take Harry Maguire kicking out versus Chelsea on Monday Night Football, the type of incident VAR is really needed for... The ref didn't even look at it. So many more examples.
My biggest problem with it is stopping the game, or when to stop the game.
A week or so ago, Mike Dean gestured "He got the ball" when Aguero was tackled in the box; play went on, for I think 4 minutes... maybe less, before he literally stopped the game via the whistle and did the TV sign and pointed to the penalty spot — I mean, what the fuck is going on??? So, in that time, say Tottenham scored, or even Man City scored... what happens? Do we scrub the other goals off, keep them and give a penalty? In my opinion, if either of them had scored in that time, nothing would've happened and we wouldn't know anything about it.
We should be able to hear all the conversations between all the officials, through the TV and throughout the stadium; we should know why the decision is made, or why it is not.
16 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:46:08
I've seen countless VAR reviews in Bundesliga & La Liga, and they're swift, efficient, and accurate. It isn't a coincidence that both leagues ensure that the game ref makes the decision, not the VAR. The game refs use the sideline pitch monitors and presto, it works as intended.
Until the EPL uses VAR as intended, it'll just continue being a disaster.
18 Posted 19/02/2020 at 13:59:08
19 Posted 19/02/2020 at 14:19:00
Also, those fans who attend games should have the same experience as the TV audience. Without overly prolonging the game, the only way I could see this happening would be if the referee can request its use or either team has a limited number of requests. It seems to work in international cricket and has the benefit in making all concerned behave more responsibly when using their judgment, and accepting the consequences when they are wrong.
If you could have faith in referees and the conduct of players, then similar systems as used in International Rugby Union would be more suitable.
It seems to me that the bigger concern for the authorities is being able to maintain the preferred order whilst appearing to be fair... or someone has a vested interest in the current format of VAR. Otherwise, why would you not have published review points to facilitate ongoing improvement from the outset???
20 Posted 19/02/2020 at 14:29:16
The exact moment the ball leaves the boot is too difficult to capture with current technology. Whoever freezes the frame is in a godlike position.
You are correct, why do we not get a freeze-frame picture at the same time of the ball leaving the foot or head of the passer of the ball.
Is it the moment the passer touches the ball or when daylight can be seen between boot/head after he touches it. That pure second could be the difference between the scorer being on or offside.
Arsene Wegner knows what he is talking about – that is why they will not listen to him.
21 Posted 19/02/2020 at 14:38:16
22 Posted 19/02/2020 at 14:46:03
Also - you can score with any part of your body other than the arm, so pretty much the whole body will have to be in front (the daylight thing that others have suggested).
It works in rugby because we know whats going on and we can hear the conversations, refs are less bent if people can hear them. Take the Maguire incident - if there was dialogue stating why that wasnt a red card - I bet it would have been given as a red card. However the VAR guy with no comeback simply says in his head “its only Maguire, he didnt mean it” so its not given. You cant make decisions like that based on opinion with an open dialogue.
23 Posted 19/02/2020 at 14:49:41
24 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:00:29
Simple really, common sense.
25 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:30:26
I would propose one challenge each a game and you keep the ability to refer if the referee (being the man on the pitch) agrees with your challenge. The challenge would be made by manager clicking a button within 60 seconds of the incident and main screen in the ground notes this so everybody knows challenge made and will be reviewed when ball out of play.
Only ref on pitch should make decision and he should call over / inform Captains of both teams and explain reasons why (like Rugby). He should not look at pitchside monitor and should look at main screen in consultation with VAR man in studio - just like in rugby union and so whole crowd can see / hear whats going on. He informs each captain reasons and then decision and thats end of it.
Should either captain complain (or any member of their team - players/ management/assistant) the captain gets red card immediately, no messing about and this carries 3 match ban. That would stop the hysteria.
26 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:32:43
Also, theres never much said on these pages along Marks comments at 16. Ive said it before, too. Seems the Americans need to point out to the English this unsavory point:
The English are just about the only country in the world who have gone to VAR that are completely screwing it up. It works, quite well I might add, in every other country in the world. The English game, and the English, need to implement when and how VAR is used much, much better. Until they do that common sensical thing, youll continue to have issues.
They also need to be patient. Reading TW, however, and using it as a measuring stick for an entire country, patience is in pretty short supply on your island. 😉
27 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:35:57
28 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:38:19
I will readily admit the matchgoer gets an entirely different experience with VAR.
I would, however, argue that once again the English have screwed that up, too.
Showing a VAR DECISION big screen while people stand their in the dark wonder what the fuck is going on, is no way to treat your paying customers.
29 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:39:13
Edit button available? Not for me
30 Posted 19/02/2020 at 15:49:33
One of the big problems of VAR is the referees, they are taking their obvious bias from the football field to the football studio. I along with others have said this since VAR came into operation since the start of the season.
It has got to stay the way it is until the end of the season, in the name of fair play (what an ironic sentence that it is) so all fans can continue to watch and suffer the pathetic inconsistencies of it.
31 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:03:17
Scrap VAR completely, and go back to the days when we could just hurl abuse at the linesman. Mind you, I love goal-line technology because it's instant and just about infallible. But fuck the rest off, it's shite.
32 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:09:49
33 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:11:39
I totally agree, we have screwed it up. VAR should be a useful addition to decision making. For some reason, we have managed to use it in a way that fucks everything up.
But, in true Brit manner, it's ignore the problem and carry on chaps.
it was supposed to be for the obvious decision missed, not if someone was offside by 'A Nose' as Wenger states. Fuckwits with half a brain-cell between them. As the insult goes If the FA were anymore inbred, they would be a sandwich.
34 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:23:24
35 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:40:14
36 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:16:09
Martin Atkinson, who killed the 'Rodwell' fixture, has killed us repeatedly ever since. Thomas and Clattenburg can also rot in hell as far as I am concerned. This is not sport, it is corruption and dark forces.
37 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:20:18
38 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:27:38
39 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:45:10
“Clear and obvious” was the blueprint. If the ref, and the ref – not some wanker hiding in a bunker – walks to the pitch-side monitor and can't see in 10 or even 20 seconds – and without the use of the inaccurate lines – what the infringement is, then his first decision stands.
If his decision is seen to be so wrong in the after-match debriefing, then he is suspended for the next week. And the two managers or club representatives can sit in for the debriefing and have their input.
All this will then be published so that the fans can see the reasoning behind the decision.
40 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:45:20
And Jamie, it's worth pointing out that the English themselves know how to use VAR technology very well. The TMO system in rugby, which has been around since 2001 and in wide use since about 2014, is pretty much flawless. Despite some recent controversies, DRS seems to have worked well in cricket, and the superb Hawkeye system in tennis was invented and first deployed in Britain.
So it's not about England. It's about the brain-dead Premier League officials who haven't taken a single hint from the previous VAR deployments in Germany, France and Spain. They've made all the same dumb mistakes.
Wenger's definitely on the right track with the ridiculous offside interpretations but, until the match officials take control back from the booth ref and start using pitchside monitors on a regular basis to make their own decisions, things won't get any better in the Premier League.
41 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:14:09
42 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:16:08
43 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:36:33
44 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:39:00
Okay, that would require another line about 20 - 24 yards from the byline on each side of the pitch. But the concept I believe could easily be translated to football.
Example: a player is only offside if he is beyond that line before the puck reaches that line. That line would make it easier for VAR if needed and it would also mean that, up until that line, you can't be offside.
45 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:39:22
Refereeing decisions have handed Liverpool the title, albeit possibly prematurely. If I was a Manchester City or indeed an Everton player, I would be thoroughly pissed-off with the pro-Liverpool bias. It grinds you down and stops you believing and giving it your all, you start to believe what is the point?
The authorities did everything in their power to hand Liverpool the title last year also. Take the Everton fanbase, can you honestly say we still truly believe we can win going into a derby game? Why is that? People are not stupid, most know it is rigged in their favour and, if it is a close game, they will always get the decisions.
This season was rigged from the outset, them getting Norwich City at home under the lights at Anfield, three guaranteed points on the board to put pressure on Man City before they had even kicked a ball. That was not a coincidence, it was deliberate. Dark forces, Mike.
47 Posted 19/02/2020 at 19:43:26
The English reference only in the context / subset of soccer.
But the rugby point is a darned good one, and one I'd not thought of or considered.
VAR needs to be strictly defined, and the offside rule simply must change. Wenger's proposal is a step in the right direction.
Mike Gaynes and I have said since the beginning, this won't be implemented flawlessly. There were always going to be growing pains. I think the EPL has, honestly because there's so many fans in England that really detest VAR, made the implementation more difficult than it needed to be.
They'll get it right in the end. They're just taking the road less travelled. And, while they're walking the road, there's a lot of fuckaboutary.
48 Posted 19/02/2020 at 19:43:35
Graham, I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous.
Have they gotten some calls? Certainly.
But 25 wins and a draw? Best GA in Europe? No, you cannot ascribe that to some giant referees conspiracy. They are so clearly the best in the league this season, and City are so clearly not up to the challenge, that blaming "dark forces" just doesn't cut it. Not this season. No.
49 Posted 19/02/2020 at 19:50:06
50 Posted 19/02/2020 at 20:21:52
The problems were always going to come up sooner or later with a new system as they always do. The rules are the same for all, get used to it and hopefully some tweaking will get it right.
Also, could we just look at torso positions of attacker and defender in offside queries? But maybe that is already a flawed idea with other implications? It was just a thought...
51 Posted 19/02/2020 at 20:30:30
In cricket test matches, it has been noticeable that captains are not willing to risk losing reviews for marginal decisions!
52 Posted 19/02/2020 at 20:34:31
53 Posted 19/02/2020 at 20:45:32
It's then up to the Ref to decide whether to look and, if he does, to make a final decision which he announces like the refs do in Rugby Union, so the crowd know what is going on.
54 Posted 19/02/2020 at 20:53:12
In all but the minority of incidents, being ahead of the defender by a fraction is not an advantage, nor may I add, has the defending team been disadvantaged either.
So he is effectively advocating daylight as the answer. Both the attacking and defending teams will adapt and accept that daylight or ‘one step' constitutes an advantage. They may need some technical framing from the point the ball leaves the foot, ie, daylight.
I for one find it completely reasonable to say in most circumstances less than ‘one step‘ wouldn't be an advantage. It would reduce offsides to a minimum and only penalize a clear example.
However, this is has taken too long to understand that the laws have no provision for technology and are antiquated.
55 Posted 19/02/2020 at 21:04:46
Theres only one solution and thats to give the VAR officials 10 seconds to make a call. No drawing on the screens or watching 50 replays over 3 minutes - take a look and make a call. If they cant confidently overturn the original decision in ten seconds, then it should stand. Done.
You will never get consistently perfect decisions from an inherently flawed system. VAR shouldnt be used to get every offside call millimetre perfect - it should be being used simply to correct obvious refereeing errors.
56 Posted 19/02/2020 at 21:31:31
Then there's the definition of deliberate handball, like Dele Alli, and the definition of a late or dangerous tackle.
The common sense and the definition of the laws of the game, are being bent to suit VAR.
No other industry with any standards body would permit such shenanigans.
For the sake of fans, there's got to be a rehash of all the laws, and the referees, need to pass their tickets again.
At every level of football, you can say, the retraining and coaching would have to apply.
If this is a serious plan, then you'd like to think they'd start any new rules at the start of the next season.
You could write all week, on this subject and not scratch the surface.
Over to the football authorities to sort this mess out.
57 Posted 19/02/2020 at 21:49:34
If you're a millimetre beyond the offside line, you're offside. Time your runs better, simple. Don't see why any advantage should be given to either team.
58 Posted 19/02/2020 at 22:03:31
There again, Mick Ferguson, our Magnificent 7 signing, only had something like size 6 feet would have been fine.
59 Posted 19/02/2020 at 22:04:55
60 Posted 19/02/2020 at 22:35:01
I understand that positioning would be an issue for either attacking or defence but it would be consistent and then nobody could argue. The ball would obviously have to be chipped as well so not straightforward but it's something I've thought about for years and I am sure it would be possible.
Alternatively and a lot easier, advantage to the striker and they must have all their body ahead of the back line. It would open up the game a bit more but that's a good thing in my opinion.
61 Posted 19/02/2020 at 23:17:15
If the attacker's trailing foot is behind either of the last defender's, the attacking player is on-side.
62 Posted 20/02/2020 at 00:33:02
It wasn't really that hard a job, most linesmen on your local park, knew offside when they saw it... though some had trouble with the – 'when the ball is kicked' bit.
Edit; Paul @ 56; Au contraire, it's simple. A picture is worth a 1000 words.
4 or 5 time-lapse pictures, like they used to show in FIFAs own rules about the ball being over the line.
Onside, onside, onside, Offside, (deffo) Offside
63 Posted 20/02/2020 at 01:38:11
Remove the linesmen who get about 50% of the tight ones wrong.
It doesn't matter what part of their body is on or offside, they're all measured at the same point, computer says no (or yes).
No more arguments, absolute consistency.
64 Posted 20/02/2020 at 06:30:34
"If a player is ever offside, he will automatically be rendered unconscious for 15 minutes. Soon there will be many inert players lying all over the field, lots of room and far more goals. As most of the unconscious will be forwards, it will give unhappy defenders a chance to score.
"Fights will be accepted as part of the game so we will have helped revive the sport of boxing. Eventually players will wear helmets and full body armour. By then we can introduce lions and fill our cities with coliseums.
"If any manager or club owner loses five games in a row, he will be fed to the lions or forced to manage West Ham, Watford or Norwich and as a bonus, VAR will be cancelled."
65 Posted 20/02/2020 at 09:24:45
66 Posted 20/02/2020 at 10:12:31
As Michael at 11 says - clear daylight between the defender and attacker is the key and it always was before.
The dispute in the old days was, did it meant the defender nearest the attacker or any defender.
The old rule was that there had to be a defender between the attacker and the goalie when the ball was played (even if they were on opposite sides of the field).
It would al be a lot simpler if that was still the case.
67 Posted 20/02/2020 at 10:13:59
68 Posted 20/02/2020 at 11:23:37
69 Posted 20/02/2020 at 11:35:55
While I believe the proposal would improve the operation of VAR with fewer goals disallowed I would much prefer to ditch VAR forthwith. It is killing the game for the fans who attend matches.
70 Posted 20/02/2020 at 12:01:26
And as most of these fancy dan modern players wear gloves no matter the temperature, we could get them all rigged up with full sleeve gloves with the technology to judge handball decisions. And then it's only a short step to giving fans the ability to press a button and give Tom Davies a short sharp electric shock every time he gives the ball away
See, the technology CAN work if you put your mind to it.
71 Posted 20/02/2020 at 12:33:19
72 Posted 20/02/2020 at 19:23:56
Even for those who can't get to the match, and watch via some medium or another, it is a killer having to wait to find out. Whether we have scored, what looks like a perfectly legitimate goal, only to be over-ruled for a bootlace to be deemed off-side.
The idea that some ex-pro's should be on the panel, does make sense, but judging by the disparity of views, often post-match, they can't agree with referees, even having watched the clip from every angle, and in slow-motion too as it is.
I'm sure they will come up with something that is better than what we currently have, but whatever it happens to be, let's make sure it IS the same for everyone and certain teams don't constantly seem to get the benefit of any doubt.
73 Posted 20/02/2020 at 19:46:37
As the offside law is now, a forward and defender can be standing exactly level, but because the forward takes a size 10 boot and the defender a size 9, the forward is offside, I feel sure that the lawmakers have never played football in their lives.
By the way, I received your e-mail and am looking forward to meeting you and your family on Sunday March 15th.
75 Posted 21/02/2020 at 21:27:37
As for this IFAB chap going on about procedure - oh please!
76 Posted 21/02/2020 at 22:01:15
77 Posted 21/02/2020 at 22:45:53
Roughly means we hate the bastards so much that we will never praise them.
78 Posted 22/02/2020 at 02:17:22
79 Posted 22/02/2020 at 02:37:41
80 Posted 23/02/2020 at 00:33:52
81 Posted 25/02/2020 at 12:31:17
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