FIFA plan to implement semi-automated next generation technology at the World Cup in Qatar this winter.
The technology will be used to determine calls on “positional” offside decisions.
System can cut decision time to around 25 seconds
FIFA say the new tech will cut down on average decision times – from 70 seconds to just 25 seconds.
Offside reviews will utilise a 3D map of the action, with 12 cameras working in conjunction with a chip in the Adidas Al Rihla ball, the official World Cup football.
The data is used to pinpoint player positions; FIFA say the devices can track up to 29 points on the players’ bodies, with information updated 50 times a second.
That data is fed through an AI system to determine the decision, which is then doubled checked by VAR. After that, the referee on the pitch will make the final call.
Once the final decision is made, a 3D rendering of the incident will appear on TV screens and displays at the stadium.
Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee, believes the technology will “take us a step further” in improving officiating.
This is not “robot offside”
“We are aware that sometimes the process to check a possible offside takes too long, especially when the offside incident is very tight. This is where semi-automated offside technology comes in – to offer faster and more accurate decisions.”
“The testing has been a major success. Someone called it ‘robot offside’; it’s not. The referees and the assistant referees are still responsible for the decision on the field of play.”
Assuming it proves to be successful in Qatar, it seems likely the new offside technology will eventually find its way into club football, with FIFA saying “a global standard [will be] implemented to ensure the new technology can be used.”
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