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Featured, News, Technology

FIFA World Cup 2022 Uses Semi-Automated Offside Technology

FIFA world cup 2022 started on the 21st of November in Qatar, and FIFA has promised to use semi-automated offside technology as a support tool for the on-field officials, and the video-match officials to help them make accurate, faster, and reproducible offside decisions on one of the biggest matches around the world. After utilizing the VAR technology successfully at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, Gianni Infantino, FIFA president announced in “The Vision 2020-2023”, that they would successfully harness the full potential of the technology in football, and enhance the VAR technology. Within three years, FIFA has evolved its technology in the game. FIFA has partnered with global brands such as Adidas, and with the “Working Group for Innovation Excellence, and Technology” providers in the past years to improve the VAR technology system including the use of Semi-Automated Offside technology. 

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Everything You Need to Know About the VAR Technology

The new VAR technology consists of twelve tracking cameras dedicated to capturing the best shots and is placed under the stadium roof to track the ball up to twenty-nine data points of every individual, fifty times every second, to calculate the exact pitch position. The twenty-nine position includes all extremities that are utilized to calculate the offside calls. Adidas’s official match ball for Qatar 2022, “Al Rihla” is planned to provide an important element of tight offside scenario detections as an “IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit” will be integrated inside the ball. The instrument will be placed in the center of the ball and is programmed to send data to the video operation team five hundred times every second which will allow for detecting the exact kick point. 

The combination of the limb-tracking and ball-tracking data along with the artificial intelligence will help the cutting-edge technology to provide an automatic alerting system in case of offside and alarm the video operation room whenever the ball is received by the player (attacker) standing in the offside position when the ball is played by the team member. Before alarming the field referee, the video match officials will check and confirm the decision after manually checking the selected kick point by the IMU detector and the automatically formed offside line, on the basis of the player’s limb positions. The process takes place within seconds, which helps the officials to check and make offside decisions accurately and quickly. 

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Use of 3D Animation in the Game

Once the in-field referee and the video match officials confirm the decision, a similar data point position will be used to create a 3-Dimension animation that will provide the details of the player’s limb position at the time when the ball was kicked. The ball will provide the best perspectives of the players in the offside position and will be shown on huge screens present in the stadium, and will be available to the broadcast partners of FIFA to show it to all the spectators in a better way. The function of the connected ball technology and the semi-automated offside technology has been trialed and tested successfully in various events and also live at FIFA matches including the FIFA Club World Cup 2021, and FIFA Arab Cup 2021. 

In these matches, new technology was utilized which supported the video match authorities to make more accurate and quick offside decisions. The collected data during the offline and online tests have been validated and analyzed by the MIT sports lab along with TRACK of Victoria University to validate the limb-tracking mechanism. A research team at ETH Zurich is working on the multiple-camera tracking system. Several other tests will be conducted in the next months to improve the system before implementing a global standard to assure the new technology can be utilized in the football world. 

In Conclusion

FIFA World Cup is one of the most prestigious and popular sports around the world. To make accurate and quick decisions, the use of semi-automated offside technology, and VAR technology systems are being used. As we know, FIFA Worldcup 2022 has started, and the fans are eagerly waiting to view the technology on big screens.

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