Arsene Wenger claims offside decisions will be ‘automated’ for the Qatar World Cup to speed up the process as the former Arsenal boss admits VAR still needs to be perfected.

He believes offside calls will be decided by technology as early as next year as he claims the process must be made quicker.

Technology has already taking a prominent role in refereeing decisions in football with VAR and goal-line technology in effect across the game globally.

Wenger says VAR is too slow when it comes to making match decisions and insists the process must be streamlined to make it more efficient in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

‘We must continue to progress in the speed of decision-making, particularly in terms of offside,’ he said, via Goal.

‘In 2022 at the World Cup, we’ll be much better able to make very quick offside decisions. And it will stop the game less because that is what the VAR can be faulted with. There is a real emotional lift, but after that you have to know if you want fair decisions or not.

‘There is a good chance that the offside will be automated at the 2022 World Cup. I am bound to secrecy, but this will be the next of the big developments in refereeing.’

Wenger’s comments come after France won the Nations League final 2-1 against Spain, with the decisive goal coming in controversial fashion.

Paris Saint-Germain star forward Kylian Mbappe slotted the ball home after clearly being in an offside position with Footage of the incident showing that Mbappe was standing behind Spain’s last man when the ball was played.

However, the match officials – which included Premier League referee Anthony Taylor – felt that Spain defender Eric Garcia had deliberately touched the ball. Therefore, they treated everything after that moment as a new phase of play.

As it stands, the rules currently state that ‘a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage’.

What has been said

Spain’s captain Sergio Busquet was infuriated with this decision and says it doesn’t make sense

‘The referee told us that Eric Garcia wanted to play the ball and that kills the offside… But he wanted to play the ball because the ball would have reached Mbappe who was offside! It doesn’t make sense,’ he said.

Eric Garcia also added: ‘Mbappe is offside. The referee tells me that I tried to play the ball. What should I do? Step aside and let him run? Apparently that’s the rule.’

Despite the criticism of the VAR, Wenger he defended the technology saying:

“I think it’s positive in that if it was announced tomorrow, people would be against it. We realised in the decisive matches that the VAR was able to prevent bad decisions from being made,”

“But there are things that still need to be perfected. VAR is a new process. The level of the VAR people may not be at the level of the referees. But it will come in a few years.

“There is an issue because it requires a lot of people and it is still expensive. VAR is a useful aid and it must remain to make more fair decisions. Before, there were 93 per cent fair decisions and today it is 97%. So that’s hundreds of decisions over an entire championship. It is important.”

Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen is not happy about the decision of the VAR to award the goal against Spain and urged the football authorities to address the issue to avoid such in future games.


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