Football is a sport that’s been enjoyed by multiple generations for over 100 years now, so it tells you that there’s not usually a need for any major changes to the rules.
Trends come and go so we often see a focus on certain rules, while the rise of technology has forced the handball law into the spotlight this season because we are seeing decisions now that wouldn’t be given last year.
Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger is now the Chief of Global Football Development for FIFA which is a powerful position, and he’s recently made some proposals which would tweak the current game as we know it.
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I got the chance to to speak to former Premier League ref and boss of PGMOL Keith Hackett about these proposals, and he’s broadly in favour.
Wenger outlined his vision for the changes in an interview with French outlet L’Equipe, which was picked up by Get Football News France, and here’s the main takeaways from that:
“For the moment, you are offside if a part of your body that you can score with sits ahead of the body of a defender. I would like it to be that there is no offside so long as a (single) body part which a player can score with is in line with the defender”
He also has some slightly more radical plans which would involve tweaks to the corner and throw in laws:
“We are also considering other things: an in-swinging corner that goes out of play and comes back in could be made valid, this would create new goalscoring opportunities.”
“There is also the option of quickly playing a free-kick to yourself.”
“ I would also like to change the throw-in rule: five minutes before the end, a throw-in for you should be an advantage, but in these situations you are facing 10 outfield players in play, whilst you only have 9. Stats show that in 8 out of 10 of those throw-in situations, you lose the ball. In your half of the pitch, you should have the possibility to take a kick instead.”
Hackett spoke about having a great working relationship with Wenger during his time at Arsenal, and he’s on board with his plans to change things, but also wishes the handball law was addressed:
“Sadly he avoided the recent impact of the mess that the Handball Law has created on the game which has been making life very difficult for the referees.”
“Whilst I have recently stated that the law makers from IFAB should stop tinkering with the laws, I personally would like Wenger’s suggestions to be adopted. The current offside law is chalking off too many goals.”
There will be two schools of thought with this as the purists won’t want anything to change, but Wenger himself pointed to a recent alteration which has improved the game.
He stated that the adaptation of the rule where the keeper didn’t need to kick the ball out of his box from a goal-kick has changed the game for the better, and clearly he would be hoping that these proposals will have a similar impact.
Changes like these will take time to approve so you shouldn’t expect things to change overnight, but it’s worth keeping an eye on this to see if any of these are implemented.