Explainer: What does the newly proposed FIFA offside rule mean?

Several social media posts claim that the world football governing body, FIFA, has introduced a new offside rule. 

Accounts such as this, this and this have posted the claim on Facebook, but how true is it? 

Many credible news portals, including The Mirror UK and The Sun, confirm a proposal for changing the existing offside rule, but that has yet to be confirmed. 

An email to FIFA on this subject is yet to be responded to. 

The publications about the supposed new offside rule are based on a proposal by former Arsenal FC manager Sir Arsene Wenger. 

Since leaving his role as Arsenal manager in 2018 after 22 years, Arsene Wenger has been working at FIFA as the Chief of Global Football Development. 

Going back

DUBAWA’s research showed that calls for a review of the offside rule date back to 2021, when it became a major subject for discussion at the 2021 FIFA Congress. 

Members of Congress said the proposal was motivated by the need to “encourage attacking football” and is “in view of the impact of VARs.”

In this video (1hr 15mins – 1hr 17mins) uploaded on YouTube by FIFA, the association president, Gianni Infantino, justified the review of the existing rule. 

“VAR has created a situation which maybe we were not expecting. Before VAR, referees were told that in cases of doubt, they give the advantage to the attacker and the term ‘marginal offside’ has suddenly become important such as someone’s nose being offside. We have to see if we need to change this rule.”

“The current rule says that “if any part of your body with which you can score a goal is over the line of the second last defender, then it is offside.”

“We are testing the opposite rule so to say if any part of your body with which you can score a goal is in line with the defender, then it is not offside. To give an advantage, of course, to the attacker,” he said. 

Infantino added that the proposal was being tested in China and the US under the supervision of Wenger. 

New Proposal 

The Laws of the Game manual used by FIFA and other football associations says, “A player is in an offside position if any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.”

Under the new proposal, an attacker will be deemed onside if any part of their body is behind the second-last opponent, as demonstrated in the stock photo below: 


Even though the proposal is under consideration, there are yet to be definite timelines on when the proposal will be fully adopted and applied to all subsequent FIFA-sanctioned football competitions. 

Show More

Related Articles

Make a comment

Back to top button