The bizarre major rule change that could affect Arsenal, Man Utd, and Tottenham
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is seeking to reform the offside law.
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It is becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss the possibility that during the latter days of his tenure as Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger was quietly replaced by three raccoons, all piled on top of one another, hiding beneath that ludicrous sleeping bag of a coat that he took such a shine to. Who else but a gaze of opportunistic trash pandas could have stumbled across the musings of one of the most erudite minds in football and spoiled them wholly until they escape, scrap by scrap, like a burger wrapper in a gust, translucent with grease, from a half-open dumpster lid?
The one they call The Professor has turned decidedly nutty in recent times, espousing all kinds of seismic alterations to the sport of which he has always considered himself a scholar. Now FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development - a post never before held by three woodland creatures in outerwear - Wenger has been Arsene around with some considerable changes to the offside law.
His proposal, as presumably outlined across various equation-strewn chalkboards in a dusty lecture hall somewhere, is that the entirety of a forward's body would have to be in front of the last defender for said forward to be ruled offside. (The current law, as you well know, states that if any body part that can be scored with is ahead of the last defender, then it is an infringement.) The International Football Association Board are understood to be thinking it all over very carefully. Of course, Wenger's overture is less an attack on the conceptualisation of what it means to be offside itself, and more an attempt to eradicate controversy in the smouldering rubble of a post-VAR world.
But here's the thing; it's an awful idea. Generally speaking, to have something named in your honour is to have with a grand recognition bestowed upon you, but there are exceptions, and on the broad spectrum of acclaim, The Wenger Rule is further from The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve than it is The Hindenburg Disaster. Or The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Let me explain. You see, like a Red Scare proxy war or an ale-soaked bar brawl that spills out into the gutter, all it does is shift the point of contention, rather than resolve it entirely. Wenger's scheme will mean that instead of seeking out errant toenails or eyelashes, video assistants will spend their afternoons mulling over stray photons and illuminated pixels, forcing defenders into a pattern of desperately avoiding slivers of daylight, like cowardly vampires.
As a consequence, managers will either have to willingly concede a considerable advantage to their attacking opponents, or instruct their backlines to drop off to such an extent that every match begins to feel like two concurrent, neighbouring reenactments of the Siege of Ceuta by rival LARPing societies. That being said, in fairness to Wenger, there's going to be a considerable reduction in disputes over offside calls if both teams set up camp in their own six-yard boxes staring awkwardly at each other like adolescents at a secondary school disco. Chess not checkers, lads.
What then, I hear you cry, is the solution to this perpetual theoretical cockfight? Well, I personally have two proposals of my own, neither of which I'm sure would work. (Encouraging, I know.) One involves another, parallel assistant referee on the opposite touchline and a roll of cheese wire. The other includes those little robotic fellas who trundle along on rails beside the 100m finals at the Olympics. Get those lot programmed correctly and we'd never need another awkwardly-rendered magic marker line ever again.
Or, failing that, I say we try and train the raccoons.