New refereeing technology to be used at FIFA World Cup 2022


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FIFA has announced that semi-automated offside technology will be used at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar starting on 21 November.

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

The semi-automated offside system was developed with various partners, including Adidas, the Working Group for Innovation Excellence and other technology providers.

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

Adidas’ official match ball for Qatar 2022 will have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor that aids the camera feed. This sensor, positioned in the centre of the ball, sends ball data to the video operation room 500 times per second, allowing a precise detection of the kick point.

If an attacking player is offside, the tracking system alerts the VAR operator within half a second to validate the proposed decision by manually checking the automatically selected kick point and the automatically created offside line.

After validation, the centre referee receives a message and can blow if he agrees the attacker was interfering with the play.

The 3D animation from the feed will then be shown on the giant screens in the stadium and will also be available to FIFA’s broadcast partners for TV and stream feed.

The workflow of semi-automated offside technology and the connected ball technology have been successfully trialled at numerous test events and live at FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and the FIFA Club World Cup 2021.