FIFA World Cup 2022: Semi-automaded Systems to Control the Offside Rule
FIFA has revealed that SAOT or semi-automated offside technology will be used at the 2022 Qatar World Cup to help referees make more accurate and quicker off-side decisions on the largest football stage in the world.
The technology includes a dozen cameras stationed around the ceiling of the stadium. Each camera tracks the players’ movements using 29 data points 50 times per second (including their limbs and other relevant body parts), making a 3D virtual image of the game. The ball’s position is also tracked by the cameras, in addition to an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor inside the ball that tracks the precise second it gets kicked.
All this data is then compiled by artificial intelligence to create an offside line. When a ball in an offline position is received by a player, the video match officials automatically get alerted by the system. They then manually validate the information before alerting the referee on the pitch. This entire process takes a few seconds, resulting in faster and more precise offside decisions.
Johannes Holzmuller, FIFA Director of Football Technology & Innovation said that they had tested the new technology at several events including the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 and the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 before introducing it to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
“During the tests, the average VAR offside check time has reduced from 70 seconds to 25 seconds, and the 3D animation could improve a better communication with fans,” he said in a press conference. However, he stressed that the technology was still limited and that the referees and the assistant referees would still be in charge of the final decision.
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