After a number of contentious calls in recent weeks, the Premier League are reportedly keen to push FIFA to implement a ‘linesman’s call’ in order prevent most marginal offside decisions.
Ever since the introduction of VAR at the start of last season, the issue of offside has been a hugely controversial talking point and one which appears to have no clear resolution.
Just last week, Liverpool saw a Jordan Henderson stoppage-time winner chalked off in the Merseyside derby due to offside, with culprit Sadio Mane penalised despite appearing to look onside.
Such tight decisions have often been a source of frustration for managers, players and fans, with it unclear as to the best solution to prevent similar scenarios as to Henderson’s disallowed goal from reoccurring.
According to the Mail, however, Mike Riley – head of the PGMOL – is keen to implement a different strategy and to persuade FIFA to allow a ‘margin of error’ in tight offside calls.
The report also suggests that Riley is keen for talks with the Dutch FA after the Eredivisie took the bold stance to ignore FIFA’s guidelines and instead bring in a 10cm ‘linesman’s call’. What this means is that offside’s would be looked at by VAR using two 5cm lines which, if they touch, the final decision would then revert to the judgement made by the on-field officials.
Any such alterations would have to be agreed upon by FIFA and, if successful, would not be implemented until at least next season. Even with a so-called ‘linesman’s call’ there would still be tough decisions and tight calls to make, but the hope is that it would alleviate the current controversy and perhaps make it clearer for all involved as to what constitutes offside and what doesn’t.
The Premier League do face a tough battle persuading FIFA – who recently took over from IFAB in dealing with VAR – to green light any such changes, with their current preference a zero tolerance approach to offsides.