Arab Cup: FIFA testing new offside technology in Qatar for 2022 World Cup

Arab Cup: FIFA testing new offside technology in Qatar for 2022 World Cup
Ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar next year, FIFA is using the Arab Cup to test out a semi-automated limb-tracking system. It is hoped the new technology will eliminate refereeing errors and enhance spectator enjoyment.
2 min read
02 December, 2021
It is hoped the semi-automated technology will reduce the margin for error in offside decisions [Getty]

FIFA, football’s world governing body, will use the Arab Cup in Qatar to test a cutting-edge offside technology ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The semi-automated technology – developed by British firm Hawk Eye – works by using between 10 and 12 specialised cameras which will be able to collect up to 29 data points for every player 50 times per second.

Unlike the current system, where play is stopped and offside decisions are reviewed manually, the new technology will be able to determine whether a potential offside offence has occurred within 0.5 seconds. An alert will then be sent to the video assistant referee (VAR), who has the final call.

The hope is that this will reduce the margin for error in offside decisions, and improve fan enjoyment by avoiding lengthy stops in play.

It is the technology’s “biggest trial” so far, according to Chief Refereeing Officer Pierluigi Collina. If the test in Qatar goes smoothly then it is expected to be formally approved for use at the World Cup next year.

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FIFA’s Football Technology and Innovation Director Johannes Holzmueller said in a statement on Monday: “The limb-tracking data extracted from the video will be sent to the operations rooms and the calculated offside line and detected kick-point is provided to the replay operator in almost real time.”

“The replay operator then has the opportunity to show it immediately to the VAR. At the FIFA Arab Cup the assistant VAR at a dedicated offside station can immediately validate and confirm the information,” he added.