Keir Starmer calls for change to offside law

VAR checking what would have been Coventry City's winner against Manchester United
VAR intervened to rule out Coventry City's last-gasp goal against Manchester United - PA/Mike Egerton

Sir Keir Starmer has called for the offside law to be reformed following the denial of Coventry City’s dramatic winner against Manchester United on Sunday.

The Labour leader has said the laws governing offside should be changed to “make it more beneficial for the attacking team”.

Coventry had fought back from 3-0 down in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against United, and then struck what looked to be a 121st-minute winner at the end of extra time.

A VAR review then showed that Coventry’s Haji Wright was marginally offside before he crossed for Victor Torp to score. Mark Robins, the Coventry manager, said Wright was “a toenail offside” and that the decision was “ridiculous”.

Sir Keir, speaking to the Metro, has now joined the debate. “This is classic cup, come back from 3-0 down, 3-3, you’re Coventry,” he said. “This is a giant killing.

“It is a really well-worked goal, and it is ruled out because there is what, a toenail of difference between the attacker and the defender? Don’t tell me a toenail gives you an advantage in football.

“I would change the offside rule. I would not change VAR. I would change the offside rule to make it more beneficial for the attacking team.”

Sir Keir was joined by former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown, who quickly disagreed with the Labour leader.

“It is the one area that we can get right,” said Keown. “It is objective, not subjective. He is definitely off. If he is off, he is off. He is unlucky, but we all have to try and accept it.

“As a pundit now we have to be very careful. We need to respect the decision. OK, the officials sometimes get it wrong… but these are teething problems.

“We are in the early years of it and let’s hope it gets a lot better going forward.”