2022 World Cup: FIFA to use semi-automated offside VAR

The introduction of artificial intelligence-based semi-automated VAR offside technology remains on track for use at the World Cup in Qatar.

This is the message of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the organization that determines the laws of football.

Offside decisions using VAR took up to four minutes, with the technology aiming to cut the decision down to three or four seconds by providing quicker feedback.

Chelsea were the first English Premier League side to experience the technology at the FIFA Club World Cup in February. It was barely two months after the launch of the first semi-automated system.

The IFAB is continuing discussions with FIFA regarding the implementation of the enhanced VAR system to utilize offside technology at the upcoming Qatar 2022 World Cup in November.

“It looks very good and very promising,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino told a press conference on Monday. “Our experts study [the trials] before deciding whether it will be used for the World Cup or not.

FIFA head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina added that he was confident semi-automated offside VAR could be used.

“We want to get precision, faster decisions, but also more accepted decisions. We’ve seen in games where semi-automated offside has been implemented (and) those goals have been achieved, the chief referee said. “It uses the same process as goal-line technology, and we’ve seen (that) that’s very well accepted by the football community. No one is commenting on that.

The Premier League in England are expected to introduce the technology, if successful at the World Cup, in the 2023/2024 season.

Trials are also underway to give attacking players the advantage in offside situations, with Collina revealing the rules are under consideration.

“We consider a very marginal offside to be irrelevant to being punished in modern football,” Collina explained. “So we are conducting this experiment. Unfortunately, competitions where these trials were allowed have been suspended or discontinued for nearly two years due to the pandemic.

FIFA has tests underway in youth football in the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

The IFAB is also looking into how to reduce wasted time, with the ball typically in action for just 54 minutes of a 90-minute game.


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