December 1, 2022

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is all set to begin with a match between hosts Qatar and Latin American side Ecuador on Sunday, November 20. The match will be held at Al Bayt Stadium and is slated to kick start at 9:30 p.m. IST. Meanwhile, it will be the first time FIFA will use its new semi-automated offside technology to help officials make accurate and faster offside calls.

Earlier in July, FIFA announced that the semi-automated offside technology will be used at the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA said that the technology will work as 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 in the tournament.

How does the semi-automated offside technology work?

The new technology tracks the ball using 12 dedicated tracking cameras positioned below the stadium’s roof and analyses up to 29 data points for each player, 50 times per second, to determine their precise location on the field. All limbs and extremities that are important for determining offside are included in the 29 data points. 

The inclusion of an inertial measuring unit (IMU) sensor into the match ball would add another crucial component in making close offside calls at the World Cup. The kick point may be identified with extreme precision thanks to this sensor, which is located in the centre of the ball and feeds ball data to the video operation room 500 times per second.

The innovative system automatically alerts the video match officials inside the video operation room whenever the ball is received by an attacker who was in an offside position when the ball was played by a teammate by merging the limb- and ball-tracking data and applying artificial intelligence. 

The video match officials then personally verify the automatically generated kick point and the automatically generated offside line, which is based on the computed positions of the players’ limbs, before advising the on-field referee of the proposed decision. Thanks to this technique, offside decisions will be made more quickly and precisely which will takes a few seconds to complete.

Image: fifa.com

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