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Arsene Wenger offside proposal to draw new line in the sand

As head of global football development at FIFA, Arsene Wenger has identified a means of changing the offside rule in the era of VAR.

Arsene Wenger offside proposal to draw new line in the sand
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Arsene Wenger is proposing a change to the rules to reduce the number of marginal offside calls going against attacking players.

Offside rules to change, proposes Wenger

Wenger, appointed Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA in November, wants the law to change so that a player would be onside if any part of their body with which they can score a goal is level or behind the relevant defender.

The former Arsenal manager, who would apparently be keen to see the amendment brought in before Euro 2020 begins in June, believes changes are needed to stop goals being disallowed after players are penalised for fractional infringements by VAR.

"The most difficult [problem] that people have [with VAR] is the offside rule," Wenger said at the Laureus Sports Awards. "You have had offsides by a fraction of a centimetre, literally by a nose. It is the time to do this [change] quickly.

"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."

The offside rule is expected to be discussed by football's lawmaking body IFAB, which meets in Belfast on February 29.

Wenger's suggestion comes after more recent fan frustration over goals that have been disallowed for marginal offsides following VAR checks. Critics, however, have pointed to the fact that his suggestion just moves where the line is drawn, rather than fixing the 'marginal' debate.

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.

Roberto Firmino had such a goal ruled out in Liverpool's win over Aston Villa in November, while Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki was similarly punished against Tottenham in a match that finished 2-2.