The introduction of VAR – video assistant referee – has brought upon several contentious talking points, one of the biggest being the offside rule. The pursuit of perfect officiating has come with a huge drawback and that is elongated reviews, with games often being put on lengthy pauses as the man behind the screen draws the offside line, much to the frustration of football fans and players.
However, Arsene Wenger has hinted at a huge revolution of this process by the time the next World Cup rolls up. The Frenchman, who is in charge of global development at FIFA, stated that it could be automated by Qatar 2022 in an attempt to speed up the process and streamline the decision making.
What does this mean? Similar to goal-line technology, offside calls could be taken off the referees' shoulders and could be determined by technology. While Wenger did not go into great details as to how and when exactly this will occur, the former Arsenal boss did offer insight into the next big development in officiating.
"We must continue to progress in the speed of decision-making, particularly in terms of offside," Arsene said to reporters, as per 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."
Whether this move will be a welcomed one, time will tell. The flawed implementation of VAR over the past few Premier League seasons has brought much controversy, with some even calling for it to be scrapped altogether after growing tired of its usage.
Another issue is the letter of the law, one that won't be fixed by automating offside decisions. Several goals have been overruled by the slightest of margins, with arguing that the benefit of the doubt should be in favor of the attacker instead of defenders.
Regardless, a year is left before the 2022 World Cup kicks off and a lot can happen between now and then. This plan could be scrapped or could get blocked and never see the light off day. Nonetheless, it's an angle we will be following closely.