Wenger’s Offside VAR Changes get UEFA Support as PL Forced to Comply

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The Premier League will review how they use VAR for next season and the offside rule will be changed to give the advantage to the striker – something it was already supposed to be doing.

Arsene Wenger suggested changing the offside rule so that if part of a player that could score a goal was in line with the last defender then he would be ruled onside rather than off. We’re looking for clear daylight here.

The offside rule, as it stands, is supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to the forward, but it has never been applied this way for as long as I’ve been watching football. So, although the Sunday Telegraph declared this a ‘radical overhaul’ of the offside rule, it isn’t really.

Speaking at the IFAB meeting in Belfast on Saturday, FIFA president (and the only person above Wenger), Gianni Infantino pointed out that the Premier League is “the only one where this issue seems a problem.”

IFAB have admitted that the current application of the offside rule using VAR has ended ‘the previous principle of giving attackers the benefit of the doubt’ but the reality is this has rarely ever been the case. Pre-VAR, if there was doubt, the benefit went to the defender.

We all know this.

“Assistant referees were always told to give the benefit of the doubt to the attacking team – what VAR has done is take that doubt away,” David Elleray, the IFAB technical director, said. “So, is it appropriate for us to say, ‘We can change the law to restore more benefit to attacking football’? I don’t think we envisaged this would happen.

“Technology, including VAR, has moved it more in favour of the defender than the attacker and football is telling us that was wrong.”

“Now we have many leagues and competitions [with VAR] we think this is the moment to have less flexibility and maybe make the positive experience of many a sort of guideline for everybody,” Pierluigi Collina, the chair of FIFA’s referee committee, said. In other words, stop letting the Premier League and PGMOL decide by themselves because they are clearly clowns.

“Certainly in the future there will be less possibility for a single competition organiser or association to do differently from others.

“You should expect there will be some changes next year. The vast majority of competitions believe that the vast majority of subjective decisions should have an on-field review.”

Elleray added: “The English situation is different from a lot of the rest of the world and I would be astonished if it remained as it is next season. I think it’s very difficult for any significant change to be made during the season.”

Last weekend, Oliver Holt called Arsene Wenger’s ideas ‘crazy’.

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