Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger has plan to end tedious VAR offside decisions by next year

Arsene Wenger Press Conference
Arsene Wenger has a plan that sounds very appealing (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger is working to end the tedious delays to VAR offside decisions by bringing in automated, instant decisions, which he thinks will be viable by next year.

The former Arsenal manager is now Fifa’s head of global football development and is looking to make an impact on the offside rule which is currently causing irritation for fans, players and coaches alike under VAR.

The Frenchman wants to rid the sport of the deathly waits that we have been used to over the last couple of years by brining in automated decisions, with cameras alerting assistant referees to raise their flag.

‘At the moment we have situations where the players’ positions have lines drawn to see if they are offside or not,’ the 71-year-old told FIFA’s Living Football vodcast.

‘The average time we have to wait for a decision is around 70 seconds, sometimes 1min 20secs, sometimes a little bit longer when the situation is very difficult to appreciate.

‘But with this system, there is an automatic signal to the linesman, via a watch he wears with a red light to tell him if it is offside or not.

‘The semi-automated goes first to the VAR who signals it to the linesman.

‘I’m pushing very hard to have the automated offsides, which means straight away the signal goes to the linesman and I think it will be ready for 2022.

‘We see many celebrations are cancelled after that for marginal situations and that’s why I believe it is a very important step.’

Wenger has much bigger ideas for the offside rule as well as automated decisions, changing the current ruling to make a player onside if any part of their body is level or behind the last defender.

The veteran former manager feels VAR has erased the benefit of the doubt that strikers used to hold and he wants to redress that balance.

‘We want to make the game more spectacular, quicker and more enjoyable to watch and play,’ Wenger said. ‘We cannot refuse to evolve and standing still would be bad.

‘VAR has changed football. The Laws say that the benefit of the doubt should go to the striker. Previously if the striker was a tiny fraction in front, the goal would be allowed.

Media Interviews - 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards - Berlin
Wenger’s plans will appeal to fans (Picture: Getty Images for Laureus)

‘But with VAR the benefit of doubt disappeared because the precision of VAR always goes against the striker. We think it is anti-emotion.

‘Our proposal is that as long as any part of your body is level with the defender you are not offside, so the attacker gains a whole stride, approximately.

‘Of course we have to analyse the impact on the tactical behaviour of the defenders – whether they might drop deeper or be more aggressive.

‘But we know on average there are four offsides in the Premier League per game. With this change, we would have only two.

‘The game would create more dangerous situations and goalscoring situations.

I’ve gone to consult with managers, defenders, midfielders and strikers from all over the world. The defenders were against it – what a surprise. And the strikers all for it.’

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