Semi-Automated Offside Technology To Be Used At World Cup

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Semi-automated offside technology, a system which would provide an automated offside alert to the video match officials team, will be used at this year’s World Cup in Qatar, world football’s governing body FIFA said on Friday.

In what can be considered an extraordinary development in the officiating of the game, technology will be able to resolve contentious offside calls with a speed and accuracy unimaginable less than a decade ago.

Using cameras strategically positioned around the stadiums, and a chip in the match ball, FIFA said the technology will go a long way to cutting down on continuous Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decisions on marginal offside calls, and reduce the time needed to check.

Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.

“We have been working on a more consistent use of VAR, in particular concerning the line of intervention,” said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, at a news briefing.

“We are aware that sometimes the length of checks or reviews is too long, in particular, concerning offside.”

The solution, FIFA unveiled, is the so-called SAOT, which will bring a futuristic, space age feel to the game, with spectators able to see some of the 3D animation when the VAR decisions are explained on a stadium’s giant screen.

The technology has already been tested at two tournaments over the last seven months and had been expected to be approved for the World Cup in Qatar from November 21st – 18th December. It will be used at all the venues at the tournament.

It uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted under the roof of a stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch. The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities relevant for making offside calls.

CN/FIFA/Reuters.

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