Explained: What is semi-automated offside technology?

Premier League clubs have unanimously voted in favour of introducing semi-automated offside technology from next season. Why have they done this? What exactly IS semi-automated offside technology? We hear you ask.

Thankfully, Get Football is here with all the answers.

Utilising camera footage and tracking software, the system will determine player positions during potential offside situations, eliminating the need for VAR teams to manually judge them.

Trials have demonstrated a 31-second reduction in the average VAR decision time through this process. This is good news, particularly for match-going fans who are often left wondering what’s happening while checks are happening.

At a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, clubs agreed to implement this technology, likely to debut in the autumn, though not at the start of the season. Despite prior hesitations, the league has garnered support from referees’ chief Howard Webb, who said he was “delighted” by the decision.

The successful use of semi-automated offside technology during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar paved the way for its introduction into English football. This technology streamlines the process by eliminating the manual addition of lines to camera images, presenting graphics directly to stadium audiences.

VAR referees may still intervene for offside decisions when goals are scored, depending on the complexity.

Discussions between Webb, PGMOL, and stakeholders include the possibility of fans viewing the footage reviewed by referees simultaneously with officials.

Additionally, it’s anticipated that referees will deliver brief messages on VAR decisions directly to stadium audiences in the upcoming season.

In a statement after the decision, the Premier League said: “The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

Get Football | Alex Roberts

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