Explained: How the FIFA Robot Referee technology works


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FIFA has created the ‘robot referees’, which uses computer programs and algorithms to determine offside calls.

The technology, based on the limb-tracking system, is meant to speed up decision-making around marginal offside calls, easing pressure on the VAR.

The new system relies on special cameras attached to the roofs of stadiums and creates a 3D animated skeleton of players through 29 data points for each player. The feed can be assessed 50 times per second to ensure decisions are correct.

If an attacking player is offside, the tracking system alerts the VAR operator within half a second.

That message is then sent to the centre referee, who can blow if he agrees the attacker was interfering with play.

The robot referee has been trialled at the recent Arab Cup in Qatar and will now be put into practice at the coming Club World Cup.

And if no technical issues are encountered, the system will be approved for use at the 2022 World Cup, which starts on November 21, before being rolled out in club leagues at the start of the 2023/24 season.