Wenger’s remit within the current FIFA role allows him to sit on the International Football Association Board (IFAB) panels and it is IFAB which has responsibility for the laws of the game and any potential rule changes.
While it is the wind of change that could soon be blowing through the beautiful game, if the 70-year-old’s suggestions are eventually rubber stamped and if they are, the sport could be set of a radically different outlook.
One of those changes may come in the way that the offside rule is policed and with a player currently considered offside, if any part of their body which can be used to score a goal is ahead of the last defender when the ball is played, this could soon be no longer the case.
Because the former Strasbourg midfielder has proposed allowing a player to be onside, if any individual part of a player’s body is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the body are offside.
In a recent interview with L’Equipe, Wenger expanded on this point by stating:
“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. This could be too much of an advantage for an attacker, because that obliges the defenders to play higher up.”
In fairness the law regarding offside is one that is always open to interpretation and has seen many previous tweaks during the history of the game, which means this latest suggestion is not all that radical.
However, there is more to come from Wenger and this is where the laws could see some substantial amendments in the not too distant future, none more so than allowing corner kicks to bend out of play and come back in and the ability to tap a free-kick to yourself.
The argument regarding corners is controversial, as it negates the perimeters of the playing field and this would be fundamental shift in the way that these attacking advantages are subsequently defended.
While regarding the ability to take a free-kick to yourself, this could speed up the game and allow for a more free flowing display of football, as a physical target would no longer be a necessary recipient after such an award.
These two suggestions will certainly generate discussion, if only because football supporters are relatively averse to the concept of change and if they are to draw potential ire from these, they may want to hold some back for Wenger’s final amendment.
The man who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, has also called for the throw-in rule to be rethought and if this was bought in, it could be one of the most radical suggestions the game has ever seen.
In the same L’Equipe interview, Wenger also had this to say on the matter:
“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.”
If anyone is in the position to drive such reform it is the former Arsenal manager, although they will still have to be rubber stamped after a long trial period. Which means although change will not happen overnight, it may not be a great distance away either.
Written by Dan Tracey