Semi-automated offside in place for World Cup

DOHA (AFP): FIFA confirmed on Friday that a semi-automated offside system will be used at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

The optical tracking system was trialled at the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and had also been tested at the Arab Cup in Qatar last December.

“Semi-automated offside technology is an evolution of the VAR systems that have been implemented across the world,” the global body’s president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

“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, and FIFA is proud of this work, as we look forward to the world seeing the benefits of semi-automated offside technology at the World Cup 2022,” he added.

The data-driven, limb-tracking technology uses both dedicated and broadcast cameras around the stadium to give the exact position of players on the pitch, offering referees precise information within seconds.

The term “semi-automated” is used because FIFA insist match officials will still make the final call, with a dedicated VAR assistant in place to monitor offsides.

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

“The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making offside calls,” it added.

The competition begins on November 21 when Senegal play the Netherlands in Doha with the final on December 18 in Lusail.