FIFA recently announced that they will apply a new offside detection technology called semi-automatic offside technology (SAOT) at the 2022 World Cup.
This new offside detection technology will use 12 cameras placed around the roof of the stadium to track the movements of the players. It also uses 29 data points for each player to create a 3D virtual model of the match.
The above data points are updated by the cameras 50 times per second. At the same time, the ball is also tracked closely. Although, there is a sensor mounted inside the ball to record the exact time and coordinates.
Artificial intelligence then aggregates all this data to identify offsides and automatically alerts the referees immediately when a player is offside.
The assistant referees and referees can still check for themselves whether the reported offside situation is correct or not. Fans will also be able to test the referee’s decision through a simulated 3D video shown on TVs and large screens on the stadium.
In fact, this new offside detection technology was tested during last year’s FIFA Arab Cup 2021 in Qatar and the FIFA Club World Cup earlier this year. Let’s wait and see if SAOT is still as controversial as VAR or better.