FIFA will use artificial intelligence to identify offside positions more quickly at the 2022 World Cup. In this way, FIFA wants to optimize the flow of the game. It is a semi-automated system that supports responsible persons with data.
Innovative technological solutions have the potential to reduce wrong decisions in sports competition. It shows that it doesn’t always work well video proof (VAR): When it comes to human judgment, mistakes cannot be ruled out.
At least in the case of offside, the technique could (almost) have more to report than the referee in the future.
World Cup 2022: Artificial intelligence decides on offside
The natural intelligence of video referees in front of monitors fails more often than many football fans would like. Now, new technology is helping to prove video — at least (or initially?) when it comes to offside calls.
FIFA uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify even more accurately whether the tips of players’ noses or fingernails are offside. After a number of tests – for example at the 2021 Club World Cup and the 2021 Arab Cup – the procedure will be used already at the 2022 World Cup, which starts on November 21, 2022.
This is how offside technology works
The bodies of the players at the World Cup in Qatar are to be monitored by twelve cameras with the support of artificial intelligence. In addition, the balls receive a sensor that transmits their position 500 times per second.
The cameras are located under the roof of the stadium and monitor 29 points on the players’ bodies. In conjunction with the sensor, the software then generates automatic warnings if an offside position is present. That’s the theory.
However, artificial intelligence cannot decide the 2022 FIFA World Cup all by itself. Once he creates a warning, he sends it to the control room where the VARs sit and control the process.
If confirmed, the game masters will receive information about the pitch and make a decision accordingly.
How does artificial intelligence recognize offside?
According to FIFA, the entire process can be completed in seconds, making offside decisions much faster and more accurate. Only practice will show whether it is realistic. Doubts are justified, because depending on the situation, the loop in the control room can be longer.
In addition, the game situation would have to continue as it is currently with VAR, so that the referees do not decide offside too soon and interrupt the game. It is questionable whether the effort will pay off despite the time window, as the check should also be done without warning as soon as an offside situation might arise.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will show if AI really improves in the offside. Because controlling the control room is the biggest time factor. Football fans know this: Sometimes minutes pass before all the digital lines are supposedly correctly laid and all the relevant angles are included.
How well the new data accelerates this process is particularly exciting. At a minimum, the offside AI technology at the 2022 World Cup should also generate automatic animations that show spectators the situation on the stadium screens and on the TV screen.
World Cup 2022: No replacement of referees
FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina loudly emphasized The Vergethat new technology should only support referees and not replace them: “I know someone called it ‘robotic offside’; That’s not it”.
Meanwhile, FIFA president Gianni Infantino raved about the new system: “This technology is the culmination of three years of dedicated research and testing to offer the best to teams, players and fans.”
FIFA is proud of its work and excited to show the world “the benefits of semi-automatic offside technology” at the 2022 World Cup.
Such eulogies from Infantino seem like clumsy attempts to add more gloss to the controversial World Cup. It doesn’t take artificial intelligence, only humanity, to recognize that FIFA has gone extremely wrong by awarding the World Cup to Qatar.