VAR time limits could be considered for offside decisions

Time limits on marginal offside calls should be considered to help with the flow of the game, according to the man who chaired the most recent meeting of football’s law-making body.

The advent of VAR has brought greater scrutiny on to the offside law, with many players and pundits frustrated and confused by some of the borderline calls that have been made where sometimes only a player’s upper arm is ahead of the final defender.

The time taken to make those calls has also been criticised.

Kieran O’Connor, the president of the Football Association of Wales who chaired the annual general meeting of the law-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month, believes there are huge benefits to VAR but that common sense must play a part.

“With VAR now we’re coming down to bootlaces almost, and there has to be a degree of common sense,” O’Connor, a former referee, told the PA news agency.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2020: Referee Stuart Atwell looks at the VAR monitor before awarding Brighton & Hove Albion a penalty during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“It’s not an easy area but it’s one we need to keep looking at and keep tweaking and eventually we’ll get there. Should you put a time limit on it? Possibly. It wasn’t discussed at the IFAB meeting but it’s been discussed in football more widely. If some part of the body is in front but the rest is behind (the defender), should it be allowed?”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has previously said that VAR-related delays create “another layer of adrenaline” for fans.

O’Connor could become British football’s most senior administrator if he is elected as Britain’s FIFA vice-president by UEFA member associations at its Congress next Tuesday.

He would replace former Football Association chairman Greg Clarke, who stood down last November.

O’Connor defended the work of the IFAB, which is often accused of being detached from the wider football world.

“IFAB are in touch (with football),” he said.

“The laws are always going to need reviewing but I think it’s the right body and I think it’s done reasonably well over the last couple of years.

“VAR works, it’s sometimes a little slow but I think that will come in time.

“FIFA are looking at what I call the ‘Tesco Value’ version (of VAR) which will come even further down the chain and make it financially available to more leagues.

“That can only help referees. They are only human and they give what they see, and the pace of the game is so quick.”