The introduction of VAR in English football from the start of this season brought plenty of controversial moments. Covering all aspects of the system in one post would be too much, so I decided to focus on a specific topic that angered a lot of people.
We saw plenty of goals that were overturned for the tiniest of offsides. We saw armpits and toes that are millimeters behind the defenders which gave enough reasons to sanction them.
One particular case involving Saido Mane sparked a reaction by the FA and we now have a debate about the offside rule on our hands.
Some believe that it should change after the introduction of VAR. The most popular proposed solution is to give 10 centimeters more to the forwards in order to encourage attacking football and calm the fans down.
But is this really necessary? I don’t think so and here’s why.
The Limit Doesn’t Matter, Close Calls Will Always Be Frustrating
The problem with marginal offside calls has always been a part of modern football. Ever since we have TV replays that show us close situations, we have experienced frustration on numerous occasions.
Whether a player from your team was just offside in an important moment or the opponent was just onside, it doesn’t matter. It’s annoying and hard to accept.
VAR didn’t change that, it just intensified the emotion a bit. On the positive side, though, it eliminates injustice. The offside rule now works (almost) the same way for both sides and there are no situations in which one of the teams is hard-done by the linesmen.
As for the negative emotions, they won’t change if you move the line with 10 centimeters. Once again, there will be goals that will be overruled because the attacker was 1 millimeter behind the offside line and they will be perceived as bad luck.
It doesn’t really matter where you put the border, close calls will be tough to swallow for the fans and the players.
Attacking Football Doesn’t Need More Advantages
One of the reasons behind the potential change of the offside rule would be to give attacking football an edge. But is that really necessary? The sport is well-balanced right now and the stats actually show that the defense might need some help soon.
The total goals numbers for the English Premier League highlight the fact that the goals in the competition have increased in the past decade or so.
I don’t think that we need to give the attacking players an advantage under such circumstances. They are doing fine as it is.
While I understand the frustration of the fans and the players, I don’t think that we should change the offside rule to accommodate them. The governing bodies must stay strong and protect what’s best for the sport.
I believe that clearing the other problems with VAR like the inconsistent decisions and the long delays would be enough. The close offside calls are more a matter of getting used to and they are similar to the goal-line technology.
It’s not cool to see your team not scoring for a matter of millimeters, but that’s how it is. It will be the other way around next time, so you just accept the decision and move on. The same will happen with VAR offsides eventually, so let’s not make any rushed decisions in the meantime.