KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Arsene Wenger, full of revolutionary zeal is his role as FIFA’s development director, believes an automated, electronic offside system could be in place at next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

The former Arsenal manager, who is promoting a reconditioned international calendar built around a World Cup every two years, revealed football’s next step into brave new high-tech world at a Paris media briefing.

His suggestion confirmed the increasing pace of the world federation’s devouring of the law-making International Board. The process began under disgraced former president Sepp Blatter and has accelerated under successor Gianni Infantino.

Arsene Wenger, French revolutionary

Wenger said: “There is a good chance that offside will be automated in 2022. I am obliged to keep the details a secret but it will be the next of the great evolutions in refereeing.”

Goal-line technology was introduced at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and then video assistant refereeing at the finals in 2018 in Russia.

Experimentation with automated refereeing has been under way for some time after the controversies which arose over hairline decisions following the widespread introduction of VAR into domestic competitions.

FIFA announced in June 2020 that it was considering “developing semi-automated technology to signal offside, in order to provide the VAR with additional information that would simplify the referee’s decision-making and optimize image analysis.”

The next World Cup finals, the first to be played in the northern hemisphere winter, will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

European federation UEFA has told all its 55 member associations that players must be released by their clubs only one week ahead of the Opening Match.

This means that national coaches, instead of having at least two weeks with their squads, will have little time at all.

The only opportunity for pre-finals experimentation will be the UEFA Nations League international break in mid-September.