What is semi-automated offside technology and how does it work?


    Referee looks at VAR monitor during the World Cup 2018
    New technology is coming to Qatar 2022 (Picture: FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

    Football fans are well used to VAR in major tournaments by now – but semi-automated offside technology will be a brand new addition at the Qatar World Cup 2022.

    The technology has already featured in FIFA and UEFA competition before having first been trialed in last season’s Club World Cup.

    Here is what you need to know about the system and how it works.

    What is it and how does it work?

    Semi-automated offside technology helps the VAR team arrive at the correct offside decision more quickly and in turn helps the flow of the game.

    Specialist cameras placed around the stadium can track up to 29 different body parts of a player.

    These cameras pick up 50 data points from the player’s movement per second to calculate their exact location on the pitch at any given moment.

    The on field referee speaks to the VAR assistant at the World Cup
    Referees will receive additional help at the World Cup (Picture: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

    A further 12 cameras are placed on the stadium roof to track the movement of the ball, which helps to determine if the attacking player was ahead of the last defender when the ball was played.

    An automated offside alert is sent to the VAR officials, who run their own checks before passing on the information to the referee.

    FIFA state the whole process should take just a matter of seconds.

    Once the referee has officially blown for offside, the system will produce a 3D image to show the location of the attacker and defender when the ball was played.

    This animation will then be displayed on the screens inside the venue, as well as being shared with TV to then relay the images back to fans watching at home.

    Why is it being used at the World Cup?

    FIFA have introduced the technology for Qatar as part of its commitment to improve decision-making in football.

    President Gianni Infantino said: ‘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.

    ‘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.’

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