Several English Premier League managers delivered a clear message to FIFA on Thursday: Preserve the offside law.
Scrapping offside was the most radical of the ideas for changes to soccer floated by FIFA technical director Marco van Basten a href=’https://apnews.com/258e5f505eb849d2989ef9bc47404610/FIFA’s-Marco-van-Basten-proposes-changes-to-enhance-soccer’in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday./a
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Southampton counterpart Claude Puel were receptive to Van Basten’s proposal to introduce a new orange-card sanction that sees players temporarily removed from the pitch for up to 10 minutes.
But the offside law should be sacrosanct, as removing it would change the dynamic of the game, according to Wenger.
“Offside is what makes the team be together,” the Frenchman said. “It’s a big quality of a team sport. It’s an intelligent rule as well where you can use your intelligence. It’s very important to keep that in the game.
“Overall football improves as well. People say it’s too tight, too compact, but the evolution of the game has always been like that. Defense gives a problem to the attack, the attack finds the solution and a response, and the defense creates a new problem. We have to keep that going.”
Puel said his players were “buzzing” about the possibility of never being offside again but sounded a note of caution himself.
“Without offside, it’s not football, it’s another sport,” Puel said. “We can imagine an opponent staying just in front of our goal, and in front of the other goal, with space on the pitch and no play. Just to wait until the ball arrives in the box.”
In his days as a defender, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic would not have liked the possibility of goal-hanging strikers.
“Everybody would love to have a rest by the goalkeeper on the post and just tap in the ball,” the Croatian said.
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