KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been slapped down by his new employer, FIFA, over his prediction if an imminent revolutionary change in the offside law.

Wenger recently appointed as the world federation’s chief of global football development, had suggested at a sports awards debate that the law-making International Board’s annual meeting would shortly rewrite the text to avert any more ‘armpit offside’ controversies.

However FIFA followed up quickly with a statement in which Wenger took a step backwards.

FIFA said:

With regards to the intervention . . . on the occasion of a panel discussion held during the Laureus World Sports Awards on 17 February 2020 in Berlin, Arsène Wenger would like to clarify the following:

“During the said panel discussion, among other topics, I referred to prospective ways of potentially improving the offside rule and I mentioned one of the possibilities that might be worth thinking about.

“My objective, as well as FIFA’s, is to continuously think about ways to improve our game and we shouldn’t be afraid to debate them in public, but I am well aware that any rules changes are subject to a standard approval process, which include discussions with stakeholders and potential test phases, within the scope of the established IFAB framework.”

Any changes to the laws are reviewed by IFAB’s advisory committees and generally tested over a one or-two-year period. Instant changes are out of the question.