IFAB rules out Arsene Wenger offside rule proposals for Euros

Wenger: "You won't be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender"

Harry Kane would be deemed onside under Arsene Wenger's proposal (image has been manipulated by Sky Sports for illustrative purposes)
Image: Harry Kane would be deemed onside under Arsene Wenger's proposal (image has been manipulated by Sky Sports for illustrative purposes)

The IFAB has ruled out making Arsene Wenger's proposed changes to the offside law in time for this summer's European Championships.

The former Arsenal manager's proposals would mean a player would be deemed onside if any part of their body is level or behind the last defender.

However, IFAB general secretary Lukas Brud told Sky Sports News on Wednesday: "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.

Arsene Wenger in Tokyo, Japan. 1:00
Arsene Wenger reveals his solution to the controversy surrounding close VAR calls for offsides

"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 FA said: "There will be a full discussion of all matters relating to this at IFAB. We have no comment or views to share until that time."

Wenger, FIFA's head of global development, said: "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.

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"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."

But in a FIFA statement on Wednesday night, Wenger moved to clarify his offside rule comments saying: "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."

Pedro Neto was deemed offside after his foot was fractionally ahead of Ben Chilwell
Image: Wolves had a goal disallowed against Leicester by the slimmest of margins

VAR continued to cause controversy in the Premier League last week when Wolves had a goal ruled out after Pedro Neto was adjudged to have been offside by the narrowest of margins in their 0-0 draw with Leicester on Friday night.

After the match, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: "You can be on both sides of the decision. It is not about Wolves, it is about the game, it is about football. It is about what we had and what we have. It is about where we want to go and what kind of game we want to see, how the fans are going to react to it. It is all of these things.

"I want things to improve. I am not a specialist on referees. I respect them a lot. We are not judging the work of the referees here. I am frustrated with the situation and all that is involved. We should not be sitting here and talking about this. So let's hope things improve."

Nuno Espirito Santo says Wolves need fresh faces this month 0:50
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo was left frustrated after Willy Boly's goal was disallowed in the goalless draw against Leicester

Souness calls for offside VAR change

Wolves were also denied a goal in December against Liverpool by a marginal offside decision ruling out a Neto strike. Sky Sports' Graeme Souness called for a change to the offside law.

"We're in the entertainment business. What we're doing is denying the people the enjoyment of goals. What we should do is say that if any part of an attacker is in an onside position they can't be given offside.

"We cannot go on like this. There's too much frustration going on."

Jamie Carragher feels continuous marginal offside calls are killing VAR, while Graeme Souness believes a simple rule change can solve the problem

Neville: Criticism of offside 'bizarre'

However, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville feels the criticism of the use of offside by VAR is bizarre, and believes suggestions to alter the line for offside will not change anything.

"I don't understand the issue with offside. There has to be a point from which an offside is measured, every single time. The line comes down, and you're either on or off. People ask: 'How can you be so accurate?' When the same methodology and principle is being used each time, you have consistency.

"All referees have been asked to do is give consistency. We've got the most consistent application of offside that we've ever had before, and people are complaining. I see experts, pundits, fans shouting about it. I don't get it. I find it bizarre."

The existing ruling states that 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."

preview image 12:38
After YouGov’s VAR survey results were revealed, we put the very same questions to Gary Neville. Does he think it has been a success?

VAR survey: Stats, views and solutions

Two-thirds of football fans believe Video Assistant Referees [VARs] have made the game less enjoyable, according to a YouGov poll.

The survey, published earlier in February, claims 60 per cent of fans believe VAR, introduced at the start of the season in the Premier League, has worked badly, with supporters giving the technology an average rating of just 4/10.

The poll found:

  • 67 per cent of fans say VAR has made watching football less enjoyable.
  • 60 per cent say VAR has worked badly.
  • 8 per cent want to keep using VAR as it is used now.
  • 74 per cent say keep using VAR, but change the ways it is used.
  • 15 per cent want to stop using VAR entirely.

Here, we look at the stats and in-depth analysis of the survey, and what the pundits think...

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