FIFA calls on football lawmakers to pursue offside trials


FIFA wants football’s legislative body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), to continue litigation over what would be the biggest change to the offside rule in more than 30 years.

Backed by former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, the proposed change would mean a striker would be in play if any part of his body, with which he can score, is level with the last defender.

According to current law, in force since 1990, an attacker is offside if any part of his head, body or foot is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent, one of which is closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball and the penultimate opponent. almost always the goalkeeper, when the ball is passed to him, provided he is in the opponent’s half.

Although the difference may seem small in writing, the effect on the field would be huge, as attackers would now only need to keep the back of one foot level with a defender when rushing at a passes or perhaps their head as they slide forward to redirect. a cross into the goal.

The idea is that the change will reduce the number of offsides in a match and also make them easier to spot. But it will also have a significant impact on tactics, particularly on high defensive lines, as defenders will no longer be able to rely on VAR-assisted marginal offside calls, forcing them to drop back.

Wenger, who has worked as FIFA’s head of global football development since leaving the Premier League in 2018, has wanted to change the offside law since 2020.
The IFAB, which brings together the heads of the four British football associations and FIFA, agreed to test this idea, sometimes nicknamed “the daylight rule”, because that is what an assistant referee would need to see between an attacker and a defender to raise his flag last year.

One such trial was undertaken in under-18 football in Italy and the IFAB was informed of its progress at its annual general meeting in March. There were further trials in age group competitions in the Netherlands and Sweden.

Wenger, with the support of FIFA, now wants these trials to be extended to other countries and senior football.

“The discussion around changing the offside law is not new and it is not something we will soon see introduced at higher levels,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“The idea was first discussed in 2020 as we felt it was something worth exploring and testing to see the effect it could have on the game.

“FIFA is committed to testing the amended offside law, favoring the attacker, which has been applied in some youth competitions across Europe. We will continue these trials, evaluate the results and discuss with all relevant stakeholders.

While the idea may excite many attackers and fans of the offensive game, some in the game fear it will shift the balance between offense and defense too much, nor will it end controversies over off -game, because there will always be close decisions involving overlapping body parts, moving at high speed.

However, Wenger’s former boss and close friend David Dein is convinced the Frenchman is right.

Speaking at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok last week, the former Arsenal vice-president said: “The offside rule needs to change because it is too controversial and problematic.
“Arsène’s idea is refreshingly fresh.”

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(Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)


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