FIFA Approves New Semi-Automated Offside Technology For 2022 World Cup

After using the 2018 World Cup to introduce VAR to the world, FIFA announced it will implement offside technology at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Referees will now have a system called “semi-automated offside technology” to help them make offside decisions by sending an alert to the video match officials. In addition, it provides 3D graphics for fans inside the stadium as well as fans watching on TV to clearly see any infringement.

Much like goal-line technology, the new system will function using a chip inside the match ball and 12 dedicated cameras around the stadium to track the players and automatically determine if a player is offside.

It will be interesting to see how exactly it will work and how referees will use the system. Will it be an automatic decision, or will officials be able to overrule it if they so choose? Will assistant referees have an easier time now that they don’t have to worry about getting offsides decisions wrong because there is a robot doing their job for them? Only time will tell.

One criticism of the VAR is that decisions are too close and it can be frustrating for a goal to be disallowed because the attacker’s finger was a millimeter offside, for instance. Some leagues have taken note and made sure that any part of a player's body that they cannot score with such as their hand or arm cannot be offside. It remains to be seen if that is how successfully the new semi-automated offside technology will be used at the tournament or if the sport will be going backward with this new technology.

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