Marco van Basten believes controversy over his proposed changes to football’s rules have been whipped up by the media but the former Netherlands star stands by his preference to scrap offsides.
In his current role as FIFA chief officer for technical development, Van Basten put together a list of potential and radical alterations to how the game operates on the field.
Certain suggestions, such as increased use of technology and sin-bins, have been floated before and enjoy support, although the prospect of football operating without offsides was met with more or less universal condemnation at the end of last week.
Speaking to Voetbal International, Van Basten suggested his current proposals were not as wide-ranging as had been suggested and maintained any changes would have to be approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which next meets in March.
“I’ve seen a lot of nonsense in the media,” he said. “A project of 10 steps? Where did that come from?
“I named a few things we are seriously working on, but that wasn’t 10. Apparently, someone included a few things I’ve said in the past and then it’s all published in the wrong way.
“We’re working on a couple of things, for example a solution for time wasting at the end of a match, protesting against the referees, a fourth substitution in extra time, the successful test with video referees and the permission to use electronic equipment on the bench, like a laptop.
“In the end, the IFAB will decide what happens: if they approve it or enter a test period. At the start of March, there will be a decision about these plans.”
Nevertheless, the once free-scoring Ajax and AC Milan forward remains keen to the prospect of abolishing an offside law he finds irritating – even if this is simply a matter of personal preference at this stage.
“Someone asked me about my personal opinion. It’s going to be better without that annoying rule.” he said.
“I’m convinced by that. You can already see it’s a delicate rule, because critics immediately say that strikers will stay in the penalty area to wait for the ball, as you see when little kids are playing football.
“But I don’t think that will happen too much. Teams will create more chances.”
He added: “I don’t mind if there’s a lot of discussion, because that’s the intention. I just hope people will notice the difference between specific plans or little tests.”