The Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) has decided to trial a change to the existing offside rule ahead of the new season.

Football’s world governing body has collaborated with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - the body that determines the laws of football - to experiment with a new offside rule proposed by legendary former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The new offside rule nicknamed “the Wenger Law” will be tested first in Sweden with the men’s under-21 and women’s under-19 leagues in the country. The Wenger Law will also be later trialled in the Netherlands and Italy.

What is the Wenger Law?

The Wenger Law refers to a new offside rule proposed by Premier League legend Arsene Wenger. 

As per the Wenger Law, a player will be offside if the whole body of the opposing attacker completely overtakes the last defender at the time of the execution of a pass forward.

However, if the attacker is on the same line as the defender, the player will not be offside.

Currently, a player is deemed offside if any part of their body is ahead of the defender at the time of receiving the pass. With the advent of VAR, players have been ruled offside more frequently with absurd margins.

With the help of the new proposed offside rule, FIFA aims to eliminate millimetric offsides. The shoulder/upper arm of the opposing attacker on the offside line has previously caused massive confusion during offside calls.

The Wenger Law is expected to favour attackers over defenders and could lead to an increase in the number of goals scored per match.

Wenger earlier presented the new offside rule to the IFAB in 2021, before it was tested in the lower divisions of the Chinese football leagues.

In 2021, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “We have been seeing that maybe we can think about a new law which allows a bit more attack in football.

“Arsene Wenger presented to us 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 inline with the defender.

“So it is giving the attacking player a bit more room and so favouring attacking football.

Obviously such a change would need to be tested. We have to see what kind of impact this will have on the game - if positive, if negative.

“If it is positive, we might go ahead. If it is negative, we step back. But we are always here, like we did for VAR, to be open to new ideas and if we can make football even more attacking, even more passionate, then we certainly look into that.”

Wenger’s new proposed change to the offside law is certain to have its detractors from sporting traditionalists like any new innovations.

However, if decisions are simplified with the new proposed law and players begin to start to accept its rulings without much fuss then we may well see this law as the future of football in a few years time. 

Photo credit: Alamy