FIFA is experimenting with tracking technology that automatically determines if a player has been offside. The people in the video room are then notified, after which the referee ultimately decides whether there is actually a violation.
The technology is based on limb track technology, FIFA explains. The football association uses 10 to 12 cameras for this technology and installs them on the roof of the stadium. FIFA collects up to 29 data points per player, 50 times per second. Special software processes that data. In the event that someone is offside, an automated notification will be sent to the replay operator in the video room. They can send the images to the VAR, which then makes the decision.
According to FIFA, offside technology is more complicated than goal-line technology, as the latter requires relatively simple black-and-white decisions. When it comes to offside, it’s not just a matter of the player’s position, but also his involvement in the game. That is why the referee always has the last word in the case of offside.
The focus in testing is on two aspects, FIFA says. The first aspect is the staircase. With the help of this technology, the football organization hopes to measure exactly when the ball has been played. The technology must also register faster and more accurately which body part of the attacker or the next-to-last defender is closest to the goal line. It is not clear exactly how the tracking system works. It does use imus, or inertial measurement units. These include accelerometers and gyroscopes for position determination.
FIFA has already tested its technology on a small scale in a number of European countries in recent weeks. FIFA works together with MIT Sports Lab and several universities to analyze the data. The organization will now also use it for the Arab Cup. If the tests prove successful, the offside technology may also be used at the World Cup in Qatar, according to the football association.