FIFA’s new offside rule – Will more goals be scored?

FIFA’s new offside rule – Will more goals be scored?
Photo by Icon Sport

World football governing body FIFA is looking to trial a new offside rule.

The change will be that the whole body of the attacker with which they can play the ball must be in front of the last defender for the VAR or the assistant referee to deem the player offside.

The proposed new rule opposes the current offside rule, which states that a player is off should any part of their body with which they can play the ball be ahead of the final defender.

From reports, we gathered that Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, has sought to mitigate the influence of Video Assistant Referees on the beautiful game since its introduction.

Since the introduction of VAR some seasons ago, the retired French tactician has seen the drama football fans have had to endure from matchday officials deliberating over the finest of margins when it comes to offside calls.

New offside rule planned since 2021

While serving as the chief of global football development at the world governing body, Wenger first presented the new offside rule to FIFA president Gianni Infantino in March 2021.

Reportedly, Wenger had hoped for the new law to be in place in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but that proved too ambitious.

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger.
Credit: Iconsport

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At that time, the FIFA president gave an interview to the Evening Standard about the new rule, in which he said, “When it comes to the offside law, with the change in the game, with the speed in the game, with also the introduction of VAR – which makes it clear when there is an offside and when there is not – without VAR, the referees were having the instructions in case of doubt, you let go.”

Infantino continued: “We have been seeing that maybe we can think about a new law which allows a bit more attack in football. And Arsene Wenger presented to us today as well what this could look like and obviously, in summary, it is if the attacking player is ahead of the last defender, or second-last player, but still with one part of the body that can score in line with the defender.”

However, at the time of writing this, it appears that FIFA has finally agreed on the former Arsenal manager's proposed offside rule, as he seeks to mitigate the impact VAR has had on the game.

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With this new law, if successfully tested, will eliminate the margins and errors involved with determining offsides, and handing over the advantage to the attacking team. This will, in turn, support more free-flowing football and create more goals and excitement for fans to savour.

And according to DirecTVSports official website (directvsports.com), FIFA will test-run this new rule in Sweden, with the nation's men's under-21 and women's under-19 leagues being the chosen test subjects.

From there, the new law will be rolled out in stages across Italy and the Netherlands, with FIFA‘s rule change board having to assess its impact from results and observations made as time passes.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago