FIFA to test offside limb tracking technology at Arab Cup

builds on the video assistant referee() technology that is playing an increasingly important role in football. In this year’s edition of the Arab Cup, which starts on Tuesday, the organization will help officials assess whether players are offside, marking the most important test of the system yet.

The offside rule is to prevent players from getting too close to the opponent’s goal. If an attacking team plays the ball forward while a teammate is in front of both the ball and the second to last defender (including the goalkeeper), it is a violation. In the 2020-21 English Premier League 32 goals for offside after VAR review.

The semi-automatic offside system collects up to 29 data points 50 times per second for each player, according to the . Between 10 and 12 cameras will be installed under the roof of each stadium. The system uses limb tracking data to calculate the offside line at the time the ball is played (ie the “kick point”). If it detects a violation, it alerts a repeat operator, who can assess the incident in near real-time.

“The replay operator then has the option to immediately show it to the VAR,” said Johannes Holzmüller, FIFA director of football technology and innovation. “During the FIFA Arab Cup, the assistant VAR, at a special offside station, can immediately validate and confirm the information.” The VAR can then inform the match referee of the decision.

The system was able to catch offside errors faster than the current VAR setup, making games run smoother. If all goes well, the technology could be used at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The system has been tested in England, Spain and Germany. There were plans to test it more widely last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted that.

“Technology is very important and useful in both pre-match preparation and the decision-making process during matches,” said FIFA chief referee Pierluigi Collina. “In an offside incident, the decision is made after not only analyzing the position of the players, but also their involvement in the move. Technology – today or tomorrow – can draw the line, but the judgment of a malfunction in play or with an opponent remains in the hands of the referee.”

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