The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has announced that it will be using a semi-automated offside technology to assist the referee at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Offsides have become a very critical point to determine in football which has led to the invention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) but FIFA is determined to increase the accuracy of the decision making while also ensuring that the most minimal time is spent.
Explaining how the technology will work in a video, FIFA says each of the stadium used will have 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium, tracking 29 data points on the body of each player at 50 times a second, calculating the exact point on the pitch of each of the 29 points which are all limbs and extremities relevant for the offside call.
The ball will have a censor at the Centre, sending data at a frequency of 500 times per second, to allow a more precise detection of the point of contact (kick point) of the ball compared to the usually conventional broadcast and optical tracking which is limited to 50 times per second.
With the data processed in real time by Artificial Intelligence, the team in the VAR room will be alerted immediately by a trigger when a player receives the ball in an offside position, which they will be able to review and validate the decision faster and then communicate with the Centre referee via headsets.
FIFA also added that for improved communication to the fans, after the decision is taken, a replay animation is shown on the screen in the stadium and the television.
This technology was already used at the last 2021 Club World Cup and the Arab Cup and will be the first time it’s used in the World Cup, following the use of the VAR at the last World Cup four years ago in Russia.