the world of football eagerly awaits the world Cup to be held in Qatar from November, and the FIFA has announced new developments technological.
The ecumenical event will mark the large-scale launch of a new semi-automated system that will help detect offsides. It will be powered by an on-ball sensor and multi-camera setup, as well as with the help of the artificial intelligence.
As happens every time a technological component is added to football, this measure encounters a series of obstacles. However, what is offered on this occasion is a additional tool for VAR and for the work of assistant referees.
In this way, it is expected to have a quick detection system that helps in the finest passes, when its invalidation due to poor placement depends on a millimeter measurement.
This is how the new semi-automatic system for offsides will work
As FIFA explains, the new offside detection system depends on three technical factors:
– The first is a sensor called Inertial Measurement Unit, located inside the Al Rihla, the official competition ball manufactured by Adidas. The device sends data 500 times per second to the VAR room detailing exactly when a player touches the ball.
– The second is a system of 12 cameras installed under the roof of each stadium. They have been developed to track the ball and the players, detecting 29 specific points on the body that count towards offside. All this information is sent 50 times per second and is used to calculate the exact positions of the players in the match.
– The third factor is that camera and ball data are processed by AI, which will send an alert to the VAR when an advanced position is detected.
In any case, the penalties in the game are not automatic, since the video assistant referee will analyze the situation and notify those present on the field of play. The final decision will be in the hands of the referee and his assistants.
The World Cup in Qatar 2022 could have less controversy
Discussions about the invalidation of plays for offside are as old as football itself. Many say that they are an essential part of the most popular sport in the world, and that minute situations should not be sanctioned. Nevertheless, FIFA sees technology as a key factor in making matches fairer.
Whether or not offside is pinpointed to the millimeter, what fans they don’t want the technology to interfere with the dynamics of the game. Especially when the referee has to get closer to the screen to make the final decision due to a match resolution, maybe offside, maybe a penalty, etc. That is what the new semi-automatic system that will debut at the 2022 Qatar World Cup promises to solve.
“We hope that the semi-automated offside detection technology will help us continue to improve. We are aware that sometimes it takes too long to check a possible illegal position, especially when it is doubtful. This is where the technology in question is of great help, as it helps to make decisions faster and more accurately,” he explains. Pierluigi Collina, former referee and current president of the FIFA Referees Committee.
An interesting point to note is that the new offside detection technology will not only alert the VAR. Also will generate 3D animations that represent the game and will be displayed on the screens of the stadiums, as well as on television channels. It will be similar to a system that measures whether the ball has completely crossed the goal line or not, to confirm a goal.
Technology and football, two sectors more united than ever
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the third consecutive major FIFA tournament to incorporate game-related technical innovation.
In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the aforementioned technology was introduced to detect whether there was a goal or not. While in Russia 2018, the epic launch of VAR took place.
For now, we just have to wait and see what the new semi-automatic system does to detect those out of place. It was tested by FIFA in 2021 during the FIFA Club World Cup and the Arab Cup; however, none of these tournaments are of the same caliber as the World Cup, where the actual results will be seen.