The 2022 World Cup will feature AI-powered cameras that will aid referees in making offside decisions, according to FIFA, the world’s governing body of association football. A sensor embedded in the ball transmits its location on the field 500 times per second, while a system of 12 monitoring cameras positioned beneath stadium roofs uses machine learning to track 29 body points on players. Software will integrate this data to create automated alerts when players engage in offside offenses, which occur when they are receiving the ball and closer to the opposing team’s goal than their second-last opponent. Officials in a nearby control center will get notifications and confirm the determination before directing referees on the field as to what call to make.
This procedure, according to FIFA, will take “a few seconds and enables the speedier and more precise determination of offside.” To “educate all spectators in the clearest possible way” of why the call was made, the data gathered by the cameras and ball will also be used to create automatic animations that can be played on screens in the stadium and during TV broadcasts.It’s the most recent illustration of how sports have espoused automatic technology to prop arbiters in their choices. At the 2018 World Cup, FIFA first deployed VAR, or the video assistant referee, which enables officials to review calls using monitors on the sidelines.
Although the new method would enable officials to make “faster and more precise decisions,” Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, emphasized that humans, not “robots,” were still in command of the game.