The football association FIFA wants to test a new technology for testing offside situations for the first time on the occasion of the Arab Cup it is organizing. The movements of the players in the stadium are analyzed with the help of cameras using motion tracking.
As Fifa recently announced in the run-up to the Arab Cup, which begins today, the so-called semi-automated offsides technology is being tested for the first time. 10 to 12 cameras are to be positioned around the playing field in order to record up to 29 data points from each player 50 times per second. If the system detects a possible offside situation, the VAR referee is informed.
Fifa justifies the use of semi-automatic offside detection with the fact that the camera analysis of offside situations (VAR) has so far had positive experiences and the number of major errors has decreased as a result. When it comes to the question of whether a player is on the sidelines, the VAR technology can still be improved.
For this reason, Fifa is working on new technologies that can answer the offside question faster and more precisely, according to the association. The decision is based on an evaluation of the position of the players but also their behavior in the game, with the referee still making the final decision.
According to Fifa, the system is based on so-called limb tracking, in which the movements of the players’ arms and legs are tracked. The main focus is on where the ball was last touched and which part of which player’s body was closest to the goal line at that moment.
Fifa had already tested the system on a smaller scale in Spain, England, and Germany, and the Arab Cup that is now taking place is the largest test of the new technology to date, with a total of 16 teams competing against each other in six stadiums in the Arab emirate of Qatar. Ultimately, it is also a question of whether the semi-automatic offside detection is suitable for use in the football World Cup in 2022.
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