World Cup 2022 'set to see automated offside system' favoured by Arsene Wenger


Automated offside system is ‘set to be used at 2022 World Cup and could be in the Premier League by 2023’ with Hawk-Eye cameras capable of tracking each player and the ball before pinging a decision to VAR officials within half-a-second

  • New Hawk-Eye technology is set to determine offside calls in football games
  • System used 12 cameras around a stadium to track each player and the ball
  • It can calculate within half-a-second whether a player is offside or onside
  • Verdict will be beamed to VAR officials who will make the final decision 
  • Automated system ‘is on course to be used at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar’
  • The technology could be a part of the Premier League in time for 2023-24  

Technology that automatically detects whether a player is offside is on course to be used at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and could be in the Premier League by 2023.

The Hawk-Eye system uses cameras to track the movement of both the ball and the players to determine whether a player is offside or onside at the moment a pass is made.

At first, it will work as a semi-automated system which sends a message to the video assistant referee (VAR) who then decides whether the offside player was interfering with play.

Offside decisions could become automated after the development of new technology

Offside decisions could become automated after the development of new technology 

But ultimately the technology could mean officials on the pitch are notified instantly as to whether a player is offside or not.

Hawk-Eye have been staging non-live tests of their technology at the stadiums of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City – the Premier League’s four Champions League representatives – this season.

And, according to The Times, the company has informed FIFA the technology is ‘ready to go’ with just over a year left until the World Cup.

FIFA must approve use of the automated offside technology, which could also feature at February’s FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, a tournament which will involve Chelsea.

Referees’ chiefs are confident the technology could be implemented in the Premier League by the start of the 2023-24 season.

The offside lines used by VAR officials have become a familiar sight in the Premier League

The offside lines used by VAR officials have become a familiar sight in the Premier League

FIFA is believed to prefer the semi-automated option in which VAR officials are notified of the Hawk-Eye verdict and then make the final judgement.

It would replace the sometimes contentious VAR ‘lines’ system used to judge whether an attacker is offside.

But it is possible to notify the on-field referee and two linesman of the decision right away.

The system makes use of 12 cameras positioned around the pitch and also artificial intelligence that monitors 29 points on each player’s body using a ‘skeletal player-tracking system.’

The ball’s movement is also tracked and computers will be able to determine an offside call within 0.5 seconds of real time.

But offside decisions in the future could be made by the technology rather than officials

But offside decisions in the future could be made by the technology rather than officials 

Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s chief of global football development, gave his backing to the automated offside technology earlier this year.

He said: ‘Automated means it goes directly from the signal to the linesman and the linesman has on his watch a red light that tells him offside or not offside.

‘At the moment, we have situation where the players are on lines to see if they are offside or not.

‘On average, the time we have to wait is around 70 seconds, sometimes one minute 20 seconds, sometimes a little bit longer when the situation is very difficult to appreciate.

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger has spoken favourably of the plan

FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger has spoken favourably of the plan

‘It is so important because we see many celebrations are cancelled after that for marginal situations and that’s why I believe it is a very important step.’

Two weeks ago, Wenger added on the subject: ‘In 2022 at the World Cup, we’ll be much better able to make very quick offside decisions. And it will stop the game less because that is what the VAR can be faulted with.’

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