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Former Arsenal boss Wenger to ‘sort out’ VAR crisis

Frenchman puts forward possible solution to end ongoing controversy over Video Assistant Referee

20 February, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Arsene Wenger: ‘You will not be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender’

AN Arsenal legend may have stepped in to save the day when it comes to the controversy surrounding VAR.

Arsene Wenger wants to see a change in the offside law to stop Video Assistant Referee officials saying “part of his nose was offside”. The former Gunners gaffer’s proposals would mean a player will be deemed onside if any part of their body is level or behind the last defender.

Wenger, who ended his 22-year reign at Arsenal in 2018, returned to football in November as FIFA’s head of global development. His new role includes a place on the technical panel of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which sets football’s rules – and the Frenchman wants to use his influence to hand power back to strikers.

Looking at the future of VAR, Wenger said: “When we’re speaking about being offside by a margin of a fraction of a centimetre, maybe there is room to change the offside rule a little bit so we don’t say a part of his nose was offside.

“You will 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 law is due to be discussed by the IFAB at their AGM on February 29, but they have ruled out making any changes before this summer’s European Championships.

Each of the four home nations has one of the eight votes, with FIFA holding the other four. Any law change needs six votes in favour to go through.

Wenger also said there were “not enough VAR specialists and that will improve very quickly”, adding “former referees have to be involved” and “experienced players” could also be used.

It follows a headline-grabbing couple of days for Wenger, who also backed UEFA’s decision to ban Manchester City from European club competitions for two seasons over breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.

Reflecting on the punishment, the 70-year-old said: “It is important for the clubs to work with the natural income they have.

“The rules are what they are and you have to respect them.

“People who are caught trying to get around the rules in more or less legal ways have to be punished, if it is proven that this has been done on purpose.”


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