The body that governs football’s global laws has ruled out any imminent alteration to the offside rule after Arsene Wenger proposed change following a host of VAR controversies.
Former Arsenal boss Wenger, who is now FIFA’s chief of global football development, suggested a player should not automatically be ruled offside if a part of their body that can be used to score a goal has moved beyond the relevant defender.
Wenger said: “There is room to change the rule and not say that a part of a player’s nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that. Instead, you will be 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.”
Wenger has always had a prominent voice in the game, but he now holds office within world football’s governing body, which adds weight to such propositions.
The Frenchman, who was speaking at the Laureus Awards, said it was “time to do this quickly”, which has been interpreted as hoping the change could come before Euro 2020.
Yet the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has indicated a rule change is unlikely to be rushed through.
An IFAB annual general meeting in Belfast on February 29 will be the first point at which Wenger’s idea can be discussed. with the ongoing use of VAR and its ‘possible future developments’ on the agenda.
However, that summit in Northern Ireland will not see the offside rule overhauled.
IFAB general secretary Lukas Brud told Sky Sports News: “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.”
The video assistant referee system has resulted in frustration for players, fans and coaches alike this season, with a host of goals disallowed for marginal offside decisions.
Olivier Giroud saw a header ruled out in Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United on Monday after a check showed part of his foot was offside.
There have also been instances in the Premier League where goals have been disallowed due to attackers being measured offside from their armpits.
The current rule states: “A player is in an offside position if: any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.
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