Semi-automated offside detection technology used at Qatar 2022™

  • The system automatically transmits an offside alert to the video referees

  • 3D animation improves communication with spectators and viewers

  • The technology has been successfully tested in previous FIFA competitions

FIFA has announced that semi-automated offside detection technology will be used at the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar, which begins on November 21, 2021. This technology offers a support tool for video referees and referees on the pitch to help them make faster, more accurate and consistent decisions on offside situations.

Following the successful introduction of video-assisted refereeing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in the “Vision 2020-23” that FIFA would continue to promote the use of technology in modern football and further optimize video assistant refereeing. FIFA has kept its word by continuing to harness technology in football. Over the past few years, together with adidas and various partners, including the Innovation and Excellence Task Force and technology providers, FIFA has improved video-assisted refereeing and worked on semi-automated out-of-court detection technology. -Game.

This new technology uses 12 cameras placed under the roof of the stadium to follow the ball as well as each player (up to 29 data points checked 50 times per second) which determines their exact position on the pitch. The 29 data points monitored include extremities and limbs relevant to the analysis of offside situations.

The Al Rihla, the official adidas ball for Qatar 2022™, will be a great help in detecting tricky offside situations, as it contains an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor. This sensor, placed in the center of the ball, sends data to the viewing room 500 times per second, allowing very precise detection of the exact moment the ball is played.

By combining data from the ball and the players, and using artificial intelligence, the new technology automatically sends an offside alert to the video referees each time the ball is received by an attacker who was in offside position when the ball has been played by a team-mate. Before informing the referee on the field, the video referees validate the proposed decision by manually checking the timing of the pass which will have been determined automatically as well as the offside line which will also have been automatically generated. This process only takes a few seconds, allowing for quicker and more accurate decisions on offside situations.

Once the decision is confirmed by the video referees and the referee on the pitch, the positional data used to make the decision is translated into a 3D animation detailing precisely the position of the players’ limbs at the time the ball was played. This 3D animation, which will always show the best possible angle, will then be shown on the stadium’s giant screens and made available to FIFA’s broadcast partners.

The processes inherent in the semi-automated offside detection technology and the connected ball have already been successfully tested at several FIFA events and competitions, including the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup™ and FIFA World Cup. FIFA 2021™ Clubs. This new technology has helped video referees make faster, more accurate and more consistent decisions.

Semi-automated offside technology to be used at FIFA World Cup 2022™

Data collected from online and offline testing was analyzed and validated by the MIT Sports Lab, while the TRACK team at the University of Victoria scientifically validated the limb and extremity tracking technology. A research team from the Zurich Polytechnic (ETH) provides additional information on the technological capabilities of multi-camera tracking systems.

Over the coming months, further testing will be carried out to optimize the system before global standards are put in place to allow this new technology to be used in the world of football. All the details and processes inherent in the semi-automated offside detection technology and connected balls will be presented to the teams qualified for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ during the team seminar to be held in Doha on July 4 and 5. They will then be communicated to the general public.

Semi-automated offside technology to be used at FIFA World Cup 2022™

Gianni Infantino, FIFA President:
“At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, FIFA bravely decided to use video-assisted refereeing on the biggest stage in world football, and the success of this technology proved them right. semi-automated offside detection technology is an evolution of video offside assistance systems implemented around the world.This technology is the culmination of three years of research and testing aimed at delivering the best possible conditions for the teams, players and fans who will travel to Qatar. FIFA is proud of the work that has been done and we hope that the world will see the benefits of this technology firsthand. FIFA is committed to promoting the use of technology to improve football at all levels, and the use of semi-automated offside detection technology at the 2022 World Cup is a case in point.”

Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee: “Video assistant refereeing has already had a very positive influence on football, as we can see that the number of major errors has been significantly reduced. The semi-automated offside detection technology will allow us to go even further. We know that sometimes the process of checking for a possible offside takes too long, especially when it’s being played within inches. This is where the semi-automated offside detection technology is crucial: to enable faster and more accurate decisions.” “The tests have been very successful and we are confident that we will have in Qatar a tool that will provide valuable assistance to referees and assistant referees, so that they can make the fairest possible decisions. It is not, however, a ‘robotic offside’, as some say. The final decision will always rest with the referees and assistant referees on the pitch.”

Johannes Holzmuller, FIFA Football Technology Innovation Director: “We will have a device with 12 cameras and a connected ball in all the stadiums of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to artificial intelligence, this new technology will send real-time alerts to video referees. Since the video referees will control the quality of the system’s interventions, it is still a ‘semi-automated technology’ as they will have to validate the proposed decision and inform the central referee. This same data will be used to generate a 3D animation that will allow spectators and viewers to quickly and accurately visualize the offside situation. This process was designed with the help of FIFA’s Support Experience Think Tank.”

Semi-automated offside technology to be used at FIFA World Cup 2022™

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