FIFA has just announced that semi-automated offside detection technology will be used from 21 November at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Following the success of VAR technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, President Gianni Infantino stated in Vision 2020-23 that FIFA would take advantage of all the possibilities offered by technology in football and continue to improve VAR. In the three years since these statements, FIFA has kept football at the technological forefront.
With the collaboration of Adidas and several partners, FIFA has perfected the video refereeing system, which includes the use of semi-automated technology for offside detection.
Twelve cameras installed under the roof of the stadium capture the movements of the ball and up to 29 data points of each player, 50 times per second, to calculate their exact positions on the pitch. The 29 groups of data collected include the extremities and parts of the body that are taken into account to signal an offside.
The official ball of Qatar 2022, Al Rihla, by Adidas, will include inside an important element for the detection of doubtful illegal positions: an inertial measurement unit (IMU, for its acronym in English). This sensor, located in the center of the ball, sends a data packet 500 times per second to the video room, allowing the exact moment the ball is hit to be detected with absolute precision.
By mixing data from player limb and ball tracking, and using artificial intelligence, the new technology provides an automatic warning to the video room.
To corroborate their proposal before reporting it to the main referee, the video refereeing team manually checks the exact moment of the shot provided by the data, as well as the automatically created offside line based on limb positions. of the player that the system has calculated. As it lasts only a few seconds, the process allows faster and more accurate decisions to be made.
Once the decision is confirmed by the video referee team and the head referee, the same positional data used to make the decision generates a three-dimensional animation that perfectly details the position of the player’s body parts at the moment of contact with the player. the ball.
Showing an offside position from the best angles, this animation is broadcast on video scoreboards and distributed to FIFA’s broadcast partners to inform all viewers.
The semi-automated technology processes for offside detection and the associated ball technology have been tested in numerous tests and used live in FIFA competitions, such as the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and the FIFA FIFA Club World Cup 2021.
The Sports Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed and validated the data collected during the online and offline trials, and the limb detection technology was scientifically accredited by TRACK experts at the University of Victoria.
A research team from ETH Zurich University is providing more information on the technological capabilities of these multi-camera electronic tracking systems.
More tests will be carried out in the coming months to refine the system, before implementing a standard for the use of this new tool throughout the world. (YO)