FIFA has announced that the FIFA World Cup 2022, starting in Qatar on 21 November, will use semi-automated offside technology, which will help video match officials and on-field officials to be faster, more accurate and more efficient. Provides a support tool for Reproducible offside decisions on the biggest stage of all.
Following the successful use of VaR technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced at The Vision 2020-23 that FIFA will strive to harness the full potential of the technology in football and further enhance VaR.
Over the ensuing three years, FIFA continues to be truly a leader in technology in the game. By working with Adidas and various partners, and in particular with the Working Group for Innovation Excellence and Technology Providers, FIFA has over the years further improved the VaR system, including the use of semi-automatic offside technology.
The new technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted under the stadium’s roof to track the ball and calculate each player’s exact position on the pitch, up to 29 data points, 50 times per second.
The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities relevant to making an offside call. Al Rihla, the adidas official match for Qatar 2022, will provide another key element for detecting tight offside incidents as an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor will be placed inside the ball.
This sensor, located in the center of the ball, sends ball data 500 times per second to the video operation room, allowing the kick point to be detected very precisely.
By combining limb- and ball-tracking data and applying artificial intelligence, the new technology provides video match officials with an automated offside alert inside a video operations room whenever a ball is received by an attacker who is currently in the offside position. was in The ball was played by a teammate.
Before notifying the on-field referee, video match officials validate the proposed decision by manually examining the automatically selected kick point and the automatically created offside line, which is based on the calculated position of the players’ limbs. is based. This process happens within a few seconds and means that offside decisions can be made faster and more accurately.
After a decision is confirmed by video match officials and referees on the pitch, the exact same position data points used for decision making are generated in 3D animation detailing the position of players’ limbs in full. The moment the ball is played.
This 3D animation, which will always show the best possible approach to an offside position, will then be shown on giant screens in the stadium and also made available to FIFA’s broadcast partners to clearly inform all spectators.
The workflow of semi-automated offside technology and connected ball technology has been successfully trialled at several test events and live in FIFA tournaments including the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and the FIFA Club World Cup 2021.
During these matches, new technology was able to support video match officials by helping them make more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions in less time.
Data collected during online and offline tests has been analyzed and validated by the MIT Sports Lab, with the track at the University of Victoria in scientifically validated limb-tracking technology. Further insight into the technical capabilities of such multi-camera tracking systems is being provided by a research team at ETH Zurich.
Further tests will be carried out in the coming months to fine-tune the system before a global standard is implemented to ensure the new technology is used in the world of football. All details on the semi-automated offside technology set-up and connected ball technology will be presented to teams that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Team Workshop in Doha on 4 and 5 July and will then be shared with the public.