FIFA has confirmed semi-automated, state-of-the-art technology will be used at the World Cup in Qatar to speed up the time taken to reach offside decisions.
In addition to a sensor in the middle of the ball, which sends data 500 times a second to determine the exact kick-point, 12 dedicated multi-tracking cameras that are “100% synchronised” will be mounted on the roof of each stadium to track the ball and 29 points on each player, sending data 50 times per second to calculate their exact position on the pitch.
Any player in an offside position will trigger an alert in the video assistant referee booth that can be relayed to the on-pitch referee.
The system was trialled at last year’s Arab Cup and Club World Cup, where it was estimated to have reduced the time taken to make offside VAR decisions from 70 to 25 seconds.
“We are very positive. It is ready,” said Fifa’s head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina.
Speaking on the new development, FIFA President and Colina was quoted as saying:
FIFA President Gianni Infantino: “At the FIFA World Cup in 2018, FIFA took the brave step to use VAR technology on the world’s biggest stage, and it has proven to be an undisputable success. Semi-automated offside technology is an evolution of the VAR systems that have been implemented across the world. This technology is the culmination of three years of dedicated research and testing to provide the very best for the teams, players and fans who will be heading to Qatar later this year, and FIFA is proud of this work, as we look forward to the world seeing the benefits of semi-automated offside technology at the FIFA World Cup 2022. FIFA is committed to harnessing technology to improve the game of football at all levels, and the use of semi-automated offside technology at the FIFA World Cup in 2022 is the clearest possible evidence.”
Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee: “VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further. 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 and we are very confident that, in Qatar, we will have a very valuable support tool to help referees and assistant referees make the best and most correct decision on the field of play. I know that 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.”