FIFA plans to introduce real-time VAR offside calls

New technology with instant imagery could be a game-changer for offside calls after Rui Patricio's horror head injury on Monday.

FIFA’s ‘semi-automated offside’ technology — which was revealed by Sportsmail in 2019 and involves limb-tracking, automatic ball detection and creating a model of a player’s skeleton — would stop the need for these delayed flags.

The debate over when assistants should raise their flags in regards to marginal offside calls was reignited earlier this week.

Rui Patricio suffered a head injury following a clash with Conor Coady on Monday after Mo Salah ran through on goal.

FIFA trialled the system at last month’s Club World Cup in Qatar and the findings will be published in the next few days.

The idea is that offsides will be called in the same timely fashion in which way goal-line technology makes its calls.

The AI tracks player’s movements in real-time and identifies the exact moment a pass is made.

“Artificial intelligence tracks the players” movements and identifies the exact moment a pass is made. The lines — as seen in featured image, an example from FIFA’s website — are accurately placed on top of the video instantaneously.

“The VAR can then, within seconds, relay the offside to the assistant, who would raise his flag. The technology is so sophisticated that it can spot the tip of a striker’s foot in real-time.

“Assistants would no longer have to wait for a passage of play to end before flagging for offside, and fans could celebrate goals knowing their scorer was onside.”

FIFA intended for the system to be rolled out completely by 2022 — in time for the World Cup in Qatar — but Covid-19 has caused a delay in trials.

The findings from the latest tests of the technology at last month’s 2020 Club World Cup in Qatar will be revealed in the coming days and should tell us more.

It is unlikely that the technology will be introduced into the Premier League before 2023.


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