Is it time for an offside rule change?

Once again today, an offside related VAR call has overshadowed the football on the field in the Premier League. Week in, week out, game in, game out, we’re seeing VAR steal the spotlight in the post game analysis from the players who have played in it. VAR is consistently enraging fans, players and pundits alike by ruling out goals for offside decisions based on mere millimeters – now it’s time we do something about it.

This afternoon, for the fourth time this weekend, we saw a goal that looked perfectly fine, ruled out for an offside in the build up. Yesterday, we watched Dan Burn have a goal ruled out against Bournemouth due to his armpit being off. Hours later, Wilfried Zaha had one ruled out for something similar and then in the later game, Teemu Pukki had a perfectly good goal chalked off for what must have been nano-meters.

Tonight, we watched on at Anfield as Pedro Neto smashed home an equaliser for Wolves at Anfield. After a lengthy delay, the goal was ruled out due to Jonny being in an offside position in the build up. With the naked eye, even when the screen was still, Jonny looked comfortably level. However, out came the protractors and the powers that be decided he was off – presumably by the width of a toe hair.

In my personal opinion, decisions like this are ruining the beautiful game. If nothing else, it’s taking away one of the things we all love seeing most in football – goals. When you see a goal scored, and raucous celebrations like the ones we saw at Anfield from the Wolves boys today, it makes for a far more entertaining spectacle – that’s what football is all about.

VAR making mockery of offside

Then, all of a sudden your celebrations are put on hold while the referees spend a frankly ridiculous amount of time, measuring to see if somebody’s armpit was slightly too far forward in the build up. All of the players inside on the pitch and the fans inside the ground are left in limbo for a couple of minutes, not knowing what in the hell is going on. Then the video referee then decides the goal was offside and it’s ruled out – resulting in visible dejection among the players, the crowd angry and the game a little bit worse off.

My proposal is that we change the rule entirely. The very minimum that needs to be done is the powers that be must implement some sort of margin of error or umpires call. If the it’s so tight that you need a protractor, the decision should stay with the on-field officials. How much of an advantage is a player really gaining by being 6mm offside? None, absolutely none.

Now, if that doesn’t happen, then how about a complete rule restructure? Wherein instead of being a case where if any part of your body is beyond the player, you’re off, make it so that if any part of your body is in line with the player, you’re on. I’ve hastily made a diagram to explain my point using Microsoft Paint, please excuse the cheap and shoddy workmanship…

This way, the rule would be far, far easier to police for the VAR officials – meaning we might cut down the time it takes to come to a decision. It’s as black and white as the offside rule can possibly ever get AND, it benefits the attacker – which will lead to more goals, thereby making a far more entertaining game. A win/win for the Premier League…

As far as I’m concerned, the current way of doing things takes away from the enjoyment of watching football. The one thing that will make any game far more entertaining from a fans point of view is goals – and this new rule would guarantee us more of those. If that goal had counted this afternoon for Wolves, Liverpool would have had to go harder chasing a goal in the second half, making for a more entertaining spectacle.

For me, this is a simple and effective solution to both make the game easier, and make the life of a VAR official simpler. What do you think, would this make a positive impact on the league? Let us know below in the comments.

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Kieran Harm
Kieran hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and holds a degree in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton. He covers a range of sports, specialising in football and NFL. Kieran is a long-suffering member of the Toon Army as well as a very proud member of Broncos Country.

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