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FIFA development head Wenger announces possible rule changes

Soccer rule changes

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 17: Arsene Wenger during an interview at the Mercedes Benz Building prior to the Laureus World Sports Awards on February 17, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images for Laureus)

Getty Images for Laureus

Arsene Wenger has some interesting ideas on rule changes that could improve soccer.

The Arsenal legend, 70, was hired last year as Head of Global Football Development at FIFA and is considering possible changes to select dead ball situations.

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Among the changes are changing throw-ins to kick-ins in the defensive half, which might sound too cute and a possible threat to slow the game.

But Wenger says research shows that throw-ins are more beneficial to the team that puts the ball out of the play. For one thing, there’s the urgency that often causes the ball to go out of play. For another (via Marca):

“Five minutes before the end, a throw-in for you should be an advantage, but in these situations you are facing 10 outfield players in play, whilst you only have nine,” he said. “Stats show that in eight out of ten of those throw-in situations, you lose the ball. In your half of the pitch, you should have the possibility to take a kick instead.”

In theory, this could be a great advantage to vision-monsters like David Luiz and fabulous crossers like Trent Alexander-Arnold (and perhaps even ball-playing goalkeepers). And it wouldn’t slow the game if you’re talking about mostly quicker, more accurate passes to teammates.

Wenger’s other suggestions could be a bit of a reach. He’d like to look into allowing in-swinging corners to pass the end line before going back into play, but that would need plenty of testing as it could increase the physical danger inside the six.

He’d also consider players being able to put free kicks into play by themselves. That’s could mean being able to quickly dribble toward or around a wall, though we’re sure there would have to be serious regulation and clarity to avoid players just leaping up every time they’re fouled and restarting the attack.

Although it could seriously limit how often players hit the deck and roll around like they stepped on a bear trap, couldn’t it?