FIFA, football’s world governing body, will use the Arab Cup in Qatar to try out a semi-automatic detection of offside using specialised cameras and a dedicated offside video assistant.
A camera system would be set up on the roof of each stadium and information relayed to a video assistant who can then alert the referee.
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“Limb-tracking data extracted from the video will be sent to the operations rooms and the calculated offside line and detected kick-point is provided,” according to Johannes Holzmueller, FIFA director of football technology and innovation.
“The replay operator then has the opportunity to show it immediately to the VAR. At the FIFA Arab Cup, the assistant VAR at a dedicated offside station can immediately validate and confirm the information.”
The final decision, however, will always be delegated to the officials in the VAR room and the referee.
If the results are positive, the system may then be used at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina described the semi-automated offside technology as “the most important trial so far”.
“Technology is very important and useful in both the pre-match preparation and the decision-making process during matches,” he said.
“In an offside incident, the decision is made after having analysed not only the players’ position but also, their involvement in the move. Technology – today or tomorrow – can draw a line but the assessment of an interference with play or with an opponent remains in the referee’s hands.”
The Arab Cup, to be played across four stadiums in Qatar, kicks off on Tuesday.