Arsene Wenger says automated system to judge offsides could be in place for 2022 World Cup

Arsene Wenger has been FIFA's chief of global football development since 2019; former Arsenal boss wants offside calls to be made automatically by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar; FIFA has previously backed semi-automatic technology, which notifies the VAR if a player is offside

Arsene Wenger (AP)
Image: Arsene Wenger left his role as Arsenal manager in the summer of 2018

FIFA could be ready to implement an automated system to judge offsides for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, says Arsene Wenger.

Former Arsenal manager Wenger is now FIFA's chief of global football development and is pushing for the introduction of a fully-automated system that will notify the assistant referee when a player is offside.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that oversees football's laws, said last month it is continuing to review the offside law and is planning to test semi-automated decision-making technology, which notifies the VAR of an offside instead.

The goal of using the technology would be to provide more accurate offside calls and to reduce the time VAR spends judging offsides.

Wenger told FIFA's Living Football television show: "The automated offside I think will be ready for 2022. Automated means it goes directly from the signal to the linesman and the linesman has on his watch a red light that tells him offside or not offside.

Diagne's strike was ruled offside fractionally in stoppage time
Image: The time taken by VAR to judge on offsides is a reason to allow technology to make the decision, says Wenger

"At the moment, we have situations where the players are on lines to see if they are offside or not. On average, the time we have to wait is around 70 seconds, sometimes one minute 20 seconds, sometimes a little bit longer when the situation is very difficult to appreciate.

"It is so important because we see many celebrations are cancelled after that for marginal situations and that's why I believe it is a very important step.

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"The semi-automated goes first to the VAR, who signals it to the linesman. I'm pushing very hard to have the automated offsides, which means straight away the signal goes to the linesman."

FIFA has already tested the semi-automated system at the 2019 Club World Cup.

While Wenger wants offside calls to be taken out of the match officials' hands, FIFA said last year: "FIFA and IFAB have always maintained that the final decision will remain with the referee, with technology being introduced to provide the officials with the best support available."

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