Arsene Wenger Proposes Offside Rule Change Ahead of UEFA Euro 2020

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2020

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 17:  Arsene Wenger during an interview at the Mercedes Benz Building prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards on February 17, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images for Laureus)
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Former Arsenal manager and current FIFA head of global development Arsene Wenger has laid out his vision for a revised offside rule, and the changes could be made ahead of this summer's UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. 

Per Sky Sports, Wenger advocated a less strict definition of the rule, in which any part of the body that can be used to legally score that is in line with the last defender would keep a player onside:

"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, and you will no longer have decisions about millimetres and a fraction of the attacker being in front of the defensive line."

The big screen displays the decision after a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) review, disallowing a goal from Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud for offside during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamfo
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

The rule is similar to the "daylight" principle often used by fans, meaning one has to be able to see space between the last defender and the attacker to deem a situation offside.

According to The Times' Martyn Ziegler, changes to the current rule could be made before Euro 2020:

Martyn Ziegler @martynziegler

Wenger reveals FIFA plan for new ‘daylight’ offside rule + could be used at Euro 2020. Would be a massive change for the game. Story with ⁦@rebeccacmyers⁩ https://t.co/JKDtbUw3Ii

Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson, however, reported there are no current plans to change any rules, but a discussion is welcomed:

Bryan Swanson @skysports_bryan

NEW: Football lawmakers say no offside law change at AGM this month. Lukas Brud has told SSN: “We welcome Arsene Wenger’s views & look forward to discussing as a group. But any law change will only follow further dialogue in game over coming months.” More on @SkySportsNews

The current rule states that an attacker is offside when any body part that can be used to score a goal is deemed beyond the last defender.

The introduction of VAR has led to plenty of controversial incidents, with replays scrutinising the smallest details. Because attackers can score with their shoulder or head, officials have to take into account players leaning and can't just look at where their feet are.

Changes to the current rule are likely, but Wenger's proposal wouldn't solve much, and the timing means there's little chance any change would come before Euro 2020, according to ESPN FC's Dale Johnson:

Dale Johnson @DaleJohnsonESPN

Let's start by saying a law change is usually a long process. Law changes are usually agreed by the IFAB Board in December, discussed by the Technical Sub Committee in January and then the final vote happens in March (or Feb 29 this year).

Dale Johnson @DaleJohnsonESPN

The only way this law change creates more goals is by giving a huge advantage to the attack. In terms of the number of goals that will be disallowed by the VAR, it doesn't change a single thing. The VAR will check every goal, and the VAR will find players marginally offside.

Changing rules ahead of a major international tournament can lead to even more problems. A change to the handball rule led to numerous controversial penalties at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, with players struggling to adapt and VAR intervening at an alarming rate.