In an interview with Sky Sports, Dutch legend Marco Van Basten spoke out in favor of abolishing the offside rule. According to the former Ajax and Milan striker, football would only derive benefits to be made without the one that continues to provoke controversy.
“I am convinced that this is not a good rule. Football is a fantastic game but I think it would be better off without the offside“, said Marco Van Basten in the columns of Sky Sports this Wednesday March 24. From his position as a former player, coach and executive of Fifa, the Dutch striker believes that we must act so that football takes a turn towards more spectacle and less wasted time.
“If you look at the number of times people waste time, besides the touches and injuries, that’s part of what spectators don’t want to see. We have to do something. People want action. There are so many situations where nothing is happening. It’s not good for the game“, he developed. For him, football must follow the examples of other sports such as field hockey which abolished it entirely in 1998.
In fact, the triple Golden Ball (1988, 1989 and 1992) had already called for a transformation of the rules of football in January 2017 in the columns of Bild. “Today, football looks more and more like handball, with teams setting up a wall in front of their penalty area. Without the offside rule, there would be more possibilities for attackers and more goals. In field hockey, the offside has been abolished and it has not been a problem“, he already said in the German daily.
At the time, French coach Christian Gourcuff described this idea as “immeasurable bullshit“.”Offside is the manifestation of intelligence and collective play. It is a fundamental rule. If we didn’t understand that, we didn’t understand anything about football“, he retorted at a press conference while he was Rennes coach. The latter is one of those for whom football without offside would become a gigantic scrum in the area of a team.
This consequence, Van Basten believes to have already identified it, but for him, it would not be crippling. “Teams would find a way to play without the offside. The defense would be further back. If the 18 yards becomes a scrum where the keeper is unable to see anything, teams will understand that sending all players to the box is not a solution.“, he argues, relying on the adaptive intelligence of the teams.
According to him, football would be more interesting because defending would be more difficult and players in possession of the ball would have more options on a field where the blocks would necessarily be less compact. To his credit, this change had ended up being digested by field hockey players after a period of adjustment. But, the argument is quite ironic when you consider that it comes from the striker of a team like AC Milan, who dominated the early 90s by relying on the offside trap.