According to several reports, in the 2021-2022 season the Premier League will be using ‘thicker lines’ when determining an offside with VAR. The decision was made at the Premier League shareholders meeting in response to heavy criticism from fans, players, club staff, and media alike. Many were soured on VAR because of the many goals that were called off due to offside calls where it seemed the attacker had no clear advantage. We are not alone in saying that it is not in the spirit of the law when a player is deemed offside by a fraction of a centimeter or by half of their armpit being beyond the last defender. That is why we are so encouraged by this move from the Premier league, especially given that is in response to what the fans want!
Although there are still a few questions about the change: just how much thicker? Will both lines be thicker or only the defending player’s line, to give a ‘head start’ to attackers? At the New Generation Fan, we have suggested removing or limiting the impact of offside, so this move is an encouraging step in that direction.
However, we would caution that there are some points of worry when it comes to how the rule might play out in practice, what happens when someone is offside beyond the ‘thicker lines’ by just a millimeter? Will fans be more understanding given the line being more forgiving? Or is this perhaps just a step towards a much more dramatic change in the offside rule, eliminating offside all together. That all remains to be seen, but in terms of innovation you cannot fault the Premier League for adjusting based on what the fans want. Hopefully, the league and others can continue to listen to the fans and apply the same responsiveness across all areas of the game.
The New Generation Fan will continue to push for innovation, and we hope that you will join us in the fight against the stagnation of the beautiful game by continue to read and engage with our content, let’s change the game!