FIFA have confirmed computer-generated offside calls will be introduced for the World Cup.
And the system, which includes a sensor in the ball and cameras tracking the movement of every player, is set to be brought into the Premier League for the 2023-2024 season.
World bosses say tests prove the time for offside VAR calls will be cut by more than half, from the current average of 70 seconds to 25 seconds.
And with the technology meaning a 3D animation explaining the decision can be shown to fans at home and in the stadium within seconds or by the next stoppage of play, Fifa believe supporters, players and coaches will all have faith in the system.
Fifa referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina said: “This is not ‘robot refs’ as some people have called it because the officials still take the final decision.
“It is semi-automated offside technology – SAOT – and means faster and more accurate decisions, to a matter of millimetres.
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“Then the animations will be automatically generated, with the body parts that are offside – or onside – clearly shown on giant screens or on TV once the decision has been validated by the VAR officials.
“Of course decisions about interference by offside players will still be taken by the officials. That does not change.
“But the objective was to have a system like Goal Line Technology, which has been praised by everybody and the tests mean we can implement it at the World Cup.”
The system, trialled in matches at Manchester City and other Prem grounds as well as the Club World Cup won by Chelsea, sees the 12 cameras tracking 29 body parts of every player 50 times per second, with the ball sensor recording data 10 times faster than that.
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It means eight operators and officials will be on duty in the VAR booth for every match in Qatar.
Prem bosses have already said they will look to bring in the system – if the technology is successful – for the 2023-2024 campaign.
But it means England’s opening game of the World Cup against Iran will be only the second match to use the new system.
Collina added that the AI algorithm would also be able to tell, instantly, if a touch by a defender had played the attacker onside, avoiding some of the most drawn-out decisions using the current technology.
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He said: “We were aware that football is different to other sports, where the fans don’t really care about how long it takes to make decisions.
“It was important, for psychological reasons, that it was done quickly but that is what we have achieved.”
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