Euro 2020 is just a few months away and the excitement for the major tournament is already starting to build. To mark 60 years of the European Championships, 12 cities across Europe will be hosting games, including Munich, Bilbao and Rome, whilst Wembley Stadium will showcase seven games, including the semi-finals and the final.
20 teams have already secured their place for the summer showdown with 16 teams set to scrap it out for the final four places in the play-offs towards the end of March, and England are the favourites to win the tournament in the football odds.
Rivals Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could meet in a crucial play-off final in Belfast should they see off Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia, respectively, whilst holders Portugal, World Cup champions France and 2014 world champions Germany will all go head-to-head in Group F.
However, former Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of global development, is aiming to change the offside rule before the competition starts on June 12th.
The current rules state that if any part of the body the attacker can score with – head, torso or legs – is ahead of the last defender then they are offside, although, the 70-year-old’s proposal, which is being called the ‘daylight rule’, would mean a player would be onside as long as any part of their body is level or behind the last man.
The uproar for a change in the current rules comes after several controversial decisions in the Premier League this season that has seen goals ruled out by the smallest of margins. The most recent of which was when Wolves’ Pedro Neto saw his opener against Leicester overturned due to his heel being offside by millimetres.
“The most difficult [issue] that people have [with VAR] is the offside rule,” Wenger told The Times. “You have had offsides by a fraction of a centimetre, literally by a nose.
“It is the time to do this quickly. There is room to change the rule and not say that a part of a player’s nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that.
“Instead, you will be not offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the attacker’s body are in front.”
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will attend a hearing with FIFA regarding the rule change on February 29th, and if it is passed, the ‘daylight rule’ will come into action at the beginning of June – just in time for the Euros.
Meanwhile, Wenger, who spent over 20 years at the helm in North London, also wants to enhance the use of VAR by making more people experts in the video assistant equipment.
“At the moment, there are not enough VAR specialists who can cover every game over the weekend,” the Frenchman added. “It will be improved very quickly if we change the protocols so that we can use former referees in the VAR room.”