Oliver Bierhoff supports eliminating the offside rule | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.03.2017
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Oliver Bierhoff supports eliminating the offside rule

FIFA's,technical director, Marco van Basten, has won some rare support for his idea of eliminating the offside rule from football. The manager of Germany's national team, Oliver Bierhoff, has said it's worth trying out.

In an interview published in this Wednesday's edition of the German weekly "SportBild," Oliver Bierhoff said he thought eliminating the offside rule could make football more attractive for spectators.

"You only have to look at how positive the change to the back-pass (to the goalkeeper) rule has been -despite the initial skepticism.  Why then shouldn't the absence of the offside rule make the game more attractive?" the 48-year-old former national team striker asked. "Maybe we should agree to a test phase, then we would get a feel for it."

Marco van Basten, who has been tasked by FIFA President Gianni Infantino with introducing innovations to the sport, first floated his controversial idea back in January, when he said that he was curious about what a football match without the offside rule would look like.

However, apart from Bierhoff, van Basten has received little support from the footballing community for the idea.

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has expressed skepticism, saying that "football does not need a revolution." Bayern's coach, Carlo Ancelotti, said eliminating the rule would make football "a different sport."

RB Leipzig coach Ralf Hasenhüttl expressed a similar sentiment, saying dropping the offside rule would bring "grave changes to the game."

The "SportBild" interview with Bierhoff came just two days before the International Football Association Board, which is the body that decides on changes to the laws of the game, is to hold its annual general meeting in London.  However, the offside rule is not on the agenda.

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