To prevent lengthy Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) checks, world football governing body FIFA on Friday introduced the semi-automated offside technology set to be used during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
New offside technology to be used at Qatar World Cup
The technology was tested during the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup
According to FIFA, the technology will be used as a helping tool for match officials to ensure matches flow seamlessly.
"The technology will offer a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions on the biggest stage of all," read a statement from FIFA.
The semi-automated offside technology was successfully tested in the last seven months during the 2021 Arab Cup (November 30 and December 18 in Qatar) and FIFA Club World Cup which was held from February 3 to 12 February 2022 in the United Arab Emirates.
How does FIFA's semi-automated offside tech work?
The technology utilises 12 cameras strategically placed underneath the roof of a stadium to track the ball as well as individual players. The cameras will relay 29 data points from each player and transmit the data at the remarkable rate of 50 times per second.
The 29 data points that will be evaluated by video match officials inside the video operation room will convey information in regards to the players' limbs, and other extremities to decide whether one is offside or not.
The official World Cup match ball, 'Al Rihla' will have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor placed in the centre of the ball. The sensor will also relay information back to the video officials at a whopping 500 times per second.
"The new technology provides an automated offside alert to the video match officials inside the video operation room whenever the ball is received by an attacker who was in an offside position at the moment the ball was played by a team-mate," revealed FIFA.
Manual checks at Qatar 2022 World Cup
Video officials will, however, have to manually check the automatically selected kick point as well as the offside line to confirm whether the system is right or not. Once satisfied with the decision, the on-field referee will be informed of any updates.
Spectators in the stadium and across the world will also get a chance to see the semi-automated offside technology in action when 3D animation of the decision will be displayed on the screens in the stadium as well as on TV.
"All details on the semi-automated offside technology set-up and the connected ball technology will be presented to the teams that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Team Workshop in Doha on 4 and 5 July and then shared with the public," said FIFA.