Artificial Intelligence: An Advanced AI-Enabled Virtual Assistant Referee Will Detect Offsides At The World Cup 2022

Controversial offside decisions are likely to be relegated to the past with a new system that provides an automated offside alert to match officials.

At the FIFA World Cup 2022™ in Qatar starting on 21 November, FIFA will use a semi-automated offside technology to assist video match and on-field officials in making more accurate and quicker offside decisions.

AI offside referee – how it works

The system will deploy 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball. These will also monitor up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch. The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making accurate offside calls. (FIFA)

Furthermore, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor will be placed inside the ball, the Al Rihla Pro from Adidas. This sensor sends ball data to the video operation room 500 times per second, allowing a very precise detection of the kick point.

AI is then used to analyze the combined data from the ball and players’ limbs, and in case of an offside violation, the system immediately issues an alert to match officials. The whole process takes only a few seconds.

Once the system’s decision is endorsed by the video match officials and the referee on the field, the data relevant to the decision is converted into a 3D animation that can be displayed on the stadium’s giant screens, as well as shared with media broadcast partners.

“This technology is the culmination of three years of dedicated research and testing to provide the very best for the teams, players and fans who will be heading to Qatar later this year,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“The testing has been a major success and we are very confident that, in Qatar, we will have a very valuable support tool to help referees and assistant referees make the best and most correct decision on the field of play. I know that someone called it ‘robot offside’; it’s not. The referees and the assistant referees are still responsible for the decision on the field of play,” said Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee.

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