World Qatar2022. Away under artificial intelligence surveillance

FIFA will use semi-automated technology and artificial intelligence for offside detection at the Qatar 2022 World Cup with the goal of “making faster, more accurate and more reliable decisions” in the competition for the greatest football in the world. The ball will contain an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that will send a packet of data 500 times per second to the video room, allowing it to pinpoint the exact moment the ball is hit with absolute precision.

In addition, the new technological improvement is accompanied by twelve cameras installed under the roof of each stadium to record the movements of the ball and up to 29 data points for each player, recorded 50 times per second. With the analysis of player and ball position tracking data and thanks to artificial intelligence, the new technology sends an automatic signal to the video room every time an attacker receives a ball while in a wing position.

In order to confirm the signal before confirming it to the main referee, the video referee team manually checks the exact moment of the shot as well as the offside line, which is also automatically generated. All this work takes only a few seconds, which speeds up the decision-making process by making it more precise.

“To make implementation more affordable, FIFA is developing a so-called Ignition VAR, which uses fewer TV cameras at a lower cost and is even slightly lighter and more affordable for indoor competitions,” said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, during the Presentation of this new technological advance during a virtual press conference.

“We’re working on a more consistent VAR when it comes to the line of attack. We also find that an examiner’s checks are sometimes too slow. These more advanced tools take time to find the exact breakpoint to define the players’ position,” he pointed out.

A semi-automatic offside technique with automatically generated 3D animation can be used during the game.

Johannes Holzmüller, director of the department for technological innovation in football, said: “The new systems will warn video referee teams in real time thanks to artificial intelligence”.

“We call it ‘semi-automated offside detection technology’ because video referee teams still need to monitor the results and confirm the decision. The system constantly tracks and alerts as soon as the ball is received by a player who was in an offside position,” he said.

In order to improve communication with the fans, after the referee confirms the offside decision, a replay animation is created and broadcast in the stadium and on television.


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The FIFA idea emerged in 2020 with initial testing, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process had to be postponed to early 2021. The system has been used in some FIFA tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and the Club World Cup.

During the games of these tournaments, the new technology has helped the video referee teams to make more accurate and reliable decisions in a short time.

The Sports Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed and validated the data collected from the online and offline trials, and the technology received scientific accreditation from TRACK experts at the University of Victoria. A research team from ETH Zurich has provided further insights into the technological possibilities of these electronic tracking systems with multiple cameras. “We are becoming faster and more precise. Those are the goals of semi-automated offside technology,” says Collina, for whom “the more precise you are, the better off”.

“We at FIFA are very proud of this work and look forward to seeing the benefits of this technology during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. FIFA is committed to using advances in technology to improve football for all skill levels “, concluded FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

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