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Wenger proposes new offside rule for Euro 2020 which would benefit attackers

Football’s offside rule is expected to be discussed by its lawmaking body in Belfast on 29 February.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

ARSENE WENGER IS proposing a change to the rules to reduce the number of marginal offside calls going against attacking players.

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 29 February.

Wenger’s suggestion comes after more recent fan frustration over goals that have been disallowed for marginal offsides following VAR checks.

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.

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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. 

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