FIFA to use AI to make an offside call in world cup 2022

By Srikanth
5 Min Read
FIFA to use AI to make an offside call in world cup 2022 1

Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in football is generally used to stay in criticism; the reason the same is that they take a long time to complete the task. Thus it makes a huge impact on the flow of the match as FIFA mentioned that in some of the cases, the VAR took more than four minutes to make offside decisions. Now, technology has made a promise to propose the reduction in timing to just three or four seconds.

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The semi-automated VAR is artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology. This technology is likely to be utilized at the World Cup later this year which has been indicted by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). IFAB is liable, or we can say the role of IFAB is to form rules and regulations for the football World Cup.

It has been mentioned by the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, that, “It looks very great and promising as well.” “The team of experts is going to make a trial before the board takes a decision on whether it is sure to be utilized for the World Cup or not.”

What do you mean by semi-automated VAR?

The semi-automated VAR is an essential feature or technology that works to make quick offside decisions instead of indulging in the current system. In some cases, it becomes a tough part to determine how long the VAR will consume time.

The AI-based technology automatically detects the ball. The technology will create a 3D model of a player’s position in real-time, thus improving the accuracy of the kick point. The product is based on tracking data and sensor technology from camera systems, while at the same time, a player’s skeleton will be modeled to identify which part of the body was facing at the same time.

The director of Football Technology & Innovation, Johannes Holzmuller, said that the technology is ‘based on limb-tracking technology or skeletal-tracking technology.’ “We named it semi-automated offside as it’s still, in the end, the VAR who has to validate and confirm the proposed offside line, and then the VAR informs the referee on the pitch about the decision,” Holzmuller told FIFA’s Living Football show.

How many cameras does it contains

The semi-automated offside consists of various cameras as it is a camera-based system. There are about 10-12 cameras installed inside the stadium and underneath the roof. “The role of these cameras is to follow the players and track up to 29 data points at 50 times per second, and this data is then almost in real-time processed and calculated by the automated software, by Artificial Intelligence. Further, this data is sent automatically to the VAR, and the replay operator takes place.”

The major motive was to identify the exact moment when the ball was kicked by the player. And after this, the next step is to spot which body part of the attacker or the second last defender is closest to the goal-line.

Power still with referees

FIFA’s chief refereeing officer is Pierluigi Collina, who said that the final decision will remain still to the on-field officials, and this technology is available only to help them reach a more precise decision. “The referees and the assistant referees have to make decisions on the playground. The technology only gives them valued support to make more accurate and quick decisions making. Particularly when the offside incident is very tight and very difficult,” he had said at a launch event of the Club World Cup.

Club World Cup trial

The technology was tested at the FIFA Arab Cup in December, but it wasn’t until the FIFA Club World Cup in February that we visualized how exactly VAR offside will look to fans.

The new Hawk-eye system creates a 3D simulation of the offside decision, and fans can now visualize that a player is offside as the simulation moves in line with the players.

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