FIFA has approved a revolutionary refereeing innovation in Qatar

After the implementation of VAR in the 2018 World Cup, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (November 21 – December 18) will be the scene of a new innovation in refereeing.

This Friday, FIFA approved the use of “semi-automatic offside” technology during the competition, which “offers a support tool to help on-pitch video referees and referees make decisions more quickly, accurately and consistently in offside situations”.

An innovation to reduce referee disputes regarding offside positions during the World Cup.

Full FIFA press release

“FIFA has announced that semi-automatic offside detection technology will be used during the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ starting in Qatar on 21 November 2021. This technology offers a support tool for video referees and on-field officials to help them handle offside situations faster, more accurately and consistently. decisions.

Following the successful implementation of video-assisted refereeing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated in his Vision 2020-23 program that FIFA will continue to promote the use of technology in modern football and further optimize video-assisted refereeing. . FIFA kept its word by continuing to use technology in football.

Over the past few years, adidas and various partners, including the Innovation and Excellence Task Force, and together with technology providers, FIFA has improved video-assisted refereeing and worked on semi-automated off-court detection technology.-The Game.

This new technology uses 12 cameras placed under the roof of the stadium to track 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 monitored data points include limbs and feet, suitable for analyzing offside situations.

Al Rihla, the official adidas ball for Qatar 2022™, will be of great help in detecting difficult offside situations as it contains an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor. This sensor, placed in the center of the ball, sends information to the imaging room 500 times per second, allowing to determine the moment when the ball is played very precisely.

Combining data from the ball and players and using artificial intelligence, the new technology automatically sends an offside alert to the video referees whenever the ball is received by an offside attacker when the ball is played by the team. – comrade. Before informing the on-field referee, the video referees confirm the proposed decision by manually checking the transfer time to be determined automatically, as well as the offside line to be automatically generated. This process only takes a few seconds and allows for quicker and more accurate decisions in off-game situations.

After the decision is confirmed by the on-field video umpires and the referee, the positional data used to make the decision is converted into a 3D animation that accurately depicts the position of the players’ limbs at the moment the ball is played. This 3D animation, which will always show the best possible angle, will then be shown on the stadium’s giant screens and presented to FIFA’s broadcast partners.

Processes inherent to semi-automated offside detection technology and the connected ball have already been used in several FIFA events and competitions, including the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup™ and the FIFA World Cup. FIFA 2021™ Clubs has also been successfully tested.

This new technology has helped video referees make decisions faster, more accurately and more consistently.

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

In the coming months, further tests will be carried out to optimize the system before global standards are implemented to allow this new technology to be used in the world of football.

All the details and processes specific to the semi-automated offside detection technology and connected balls will be presented to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying teams during a team workshop in Doha on July 4 and 5. They will then be made available to the general public.

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