Arsene Wenger transformed English football at Arsenal and is now trying to re-write the rules of the game… so how likely are his radical plans to be approved, and could we see throw-ins, corners and offsides change forever?
- Arsene Wenger has proposed some radical changes to the rules of football
- The Frenchman is currently FIFA’s Chief Head of Global Football Development
- Wenger wants throw-ins to become ‘kick-ins’ and tweak corners and free-kicks
- He also wants to give attackers more of an advantage with an offside rule change
- But how likely are they to be implemented and what does Wenger have to do?
He changed the face of English football when he arrived in north London in 1996, implementing new training and fitness methods and an offensive, possession-based style of play that revolutionised the domestic game.
There was also his willingness to rely on young players and a fascination with diet and nutrition that helped Arsenal win three league titles, two Doubles and seven FA Cups.
Arsene Wenger has proposed some radical changes to football’s rules in his role at FIFA
Wenger transformed English football at Arsenal and now hopes to mould the game to his vision
WENGER’S RADICAL RULE CHANGES
Throw-ins – Teams should be able to kick the ball back into play instead of throwing it back in, if they are inside their own half.
Offside – An attacker would not be offside if any part of their body with which they are allowed to score, such as a foot, head or shoulder, is in line with the penultimate defender.
Corners – Kicks which curve out of play and then back in again should be permitted.
Free-kicks – Players should be able to touch the ball to themselves to restart play, not be forced to pass to a team-mate.
His latest plan to overhaul some of football’s rules should come as no surprise then.
Throw-ins and a tweak to the offside law that would benefit attackers are just two of the latest ideas Wenger has had on how to bring his vision for football to life.
‘I would 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 nine,’ Wenger told L’Equipe.
‘Stats show that in eight 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.’
Also explaining his desire to change the offside rule, he said: ‘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.
‘This could be too much of an advantage for an attacker, because that obliges the defenders to play higher up.’
Wenger wants throw-ins to change to ‘kick-ins’ to take away the defending team’s advantage
He wants the offside rule changed to stop strikers being penalised by the slightest of margins
Wenger had hinted at that possible change to the offside law earlier this year amid fury that VAR was ruling out goals by the slimmest of margins. If he bases his ideas on anger among fans, surely handball will be next?
On set pieces, Wenger wants the taker to be able to touch a free kick more than once and allow out-swinging corners to go out of play behind the goal before coming back onto the field.
‘We are also considering other things: a corner that goes out of play and comes back in could be made valid, this would create new goal-scoring opportunities,’ Wenger added.
‘There is also the option of quickly playing a free-kick to yourself.’
As crazy as they might seem, Wenger could have enough backing to implement these changes as FIFA’s Chief Head of Global Football Development.
In his role at football’s global governing body, the 70-year-old is chiefly responsible for the development of both men’s and women’s football around the world.
Wenger also wants to tweak free-kicks (L) and allow corners to go out of play and back in (R)
That involves everything from technical aspects to boosting participation across the globe. He also sits on the Football and Technical Advisory Panels involved in The International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) review and decision-making process on potential changes to the Laws of the Game.
The self-described ‘guardian of the Laws of the Game’, IFAB is made up of the four British associations (the FA, SFA, FAW and IFA) and FIFA. It is the only organisation that has the authority to review and change football’s rules.
When it comes to introducing new rules, the four British associations have one vote each and FIFA, on behalf of the other 207 national associations, has four.
As a representative of FIFA, Wenger has direct access to IFAB and will be able to take his radical proposals to their annual general meeting, typically held in February or March.
For a proposal to succeed, it must receive the support of at least three-quarters of those present and entitled to vote.
Changes to the rules of football have to be approved at the IFAB AGM, pictured here in 2015
Recent major rules to be implemented include VAR, goal-line technology and no back passes
The IFAB has shown a willingness to introduce new laws that could change the game completely before. Think about the introduction of VAR in 2018, goal-line technology in 2012 and the back-pass rule in 1992.
Wenger believes last year’s rule change that allows players to receive a goal kick inside the penalty box as one that has ‘profoundly changed’ the game and hopes his ideas will have a similar impact.
He added: ‘I think that the new rule that allows you to play in the box from the start of play within 5.5metres has profoundly changed play. I have to admit that I did not see it coming. This has consequences.
‘The real playmaker now is the goalkeeper. And instead of looking to play as quickly as possible in the opposition half, you are looking to create space in your own box.
‘This has created dangerous situations because teams press very hard, so well that they leave a lot of space.
‘And this rule, which was innocent at the start, has profoundly turned the game upside down.’
Wenger is striving to mould football into his vision and building a team of sharp minds at FIFA
Since quitting Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years and 17 trophies, Wenger has shown no sign of returning to management any time soon.
As well as working with FIFA, he also has an interest in Playermaker. Described as a ‘game changer in football analytics’, they attach a sensor to footballers’ boots to measure data and performance.
Wenger also has an autobiography, titled ‘My Life in Red and White’, scheduled to be released on October 13 and works as a pundit with beIN Sports.
Despite his other commitments, Wenger seems fully focused on his determination to revamp football in his vision.
It certainly worked for English football when he arrived at Arsenal and now Wenger hopes his impact can transform the game around the globe.