The 2022 FIFA World Cup will use semi-automated offside technology for precise decisions

FIFA has announced that semi-automated offside technology will be used at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar from November 21, providing a support tool for video match officials and officials on the pitch to help them be faster, more accurate and more repeatable offside decisions on the biggest stage of them all.

Following the successful use of VAR technology during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in The Vision 2020-23 that FIFA will strive to exploit any the potential of technology in football and to further improve VAR.

In the three years since, FIFA has indeed continued to be at the forefront of in-game technology. Working with Adidas and various partners, and in particular with the Innovation Excellence Task Force and technology providers, FIFA has spent the past few years further improving the VAR system, including the use of semi-automated offside technology.

The new technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted under the stadium roof to track the ball and up to 29 data points from each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch.

The 29 data points collected include all limbs and extremities relevant to making offside calls. Al Rihla, Adidas’ official match ball for Qatar 2022, will provide an additional vital element for the detection of tight offside incidents as an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor will be placed inside the ball.

This sensor, positioned in the center of the ball, sends ball data to the video operating room 500 times per second, allowing very precise detection of the strike point.

By combining limb and ball tracking data and applying artificial intelligence, the new technology provides an automated offside alert to video match officials inside the video ops room whenever the ball is received by an attacker who was in an offside position at the time. the ball was played by a teammate.

Before informing the referee on the field, the video match officials validate the proposed decision by manually checking the automatically selected kicking point and the automatically created offside line, which is based on the calculated positions of the members players. This process happens in seconds and means offside decisions can be made faster and more accurately.

Once the decision is confirmed by video match officials and the on-field referee, the exact same positional data points that were used to make the decision are then generated in a 3D animation that perfectly details the position of the members of the players when the ball was played.

This 3D animation, which will always show the best possible outlook for an offside situation, will then be shown on the stadium’s giant screens and will also be made available to FIFA’s broadcast partners to inform in the clearest possible way. all spectators.

The semi-automated offside technology workflow and connected ball technology have been successfully tested in numerous test events and live at FIFA tournaments, including the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup and the FIFA World Cup. FIFA Club World Cup 2021.

In these matches, the new technology was able to support video referees by helping them make more accurate and repeatable offside decisions in a shorter time frame.

Data collected from online and offline testing was analyzed and validated by the MIT Sports Lab, TRACK at Victoria University scientifically validating limb tracking technology. A research team from ETH Zurich provides additional information on the technological capabilities of these multi-camera tracking systems.

Further testing will be carried out in the coming months to refine the system before a global standard is implemented to ensure the new technology can be used in the world of football. Full details on the configuration of semi-automated offside technology and connected ball technology will be presented to teams qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup during the Team Workshop in Doha on July 4-5 and then shared with the audience.


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