Football takes its latest step towards what it hopes is a more efficient and accurate VAR future when Semi-Automated Offside Technology is used for the primary time tonight. UEFA’s Super Cup between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki shall be the primary to make use of the technology labelled by some as “robot offside”.
The governing body are confident that it should not only speed up the time taken to analyse any potential offside but improve accuracy by utilising in-ball sensors and enhanced optical tracking of players.
The technology has been tested on all games from last season’s Champions League, the knockout stage of the Women’s Champions League and the ladies’s Euros.
It can be rolled out on this season’s Champions League group stages and the World Cup in Qatar this winter.
“We’re aware that sometimes the length of checks or reviews is just too long, specifically, concerning offside,” said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee.
“Someone called it ‘robot offside’. It is not. The referees and the assistant referees are still chargeable for the choice on the sector of play.”
He added: “We’re very confident that it should be a really invaluable support tool to assist referees and assistant referees make the perfect and most correct decision on the sector of play.”
SAOT utilises 12 cameras to capture 29 tracking points on players’ bodies and a sensor within the ball to relay the precise kick point to the modelling computers of VAR officials.
Articial Intelligence removes all subjectivity from these two parts of the method, meaning there is no such thing as a human role.
UEFA, who insist the outline “robot offside” is misleading given ultimate control over the offside call stays with humans, consider the brand new process will reduce average wait times of 70 seconds for decisions to 20-25 seconds.