Semi-Automated Offside Technology to Make Debut in the Upcoming Season

The Premier League has announced plans to enhance its use of technology by introducing semi-automated offside technology, primarily to expedite decisions made by VAR. This new system is anticipated to be put into operation by the coming fall season with the aim of reducing the average VAR review time by around 31 seconds. By utilizing camera footage in conjunction with tracking software, the technology will accurately determine players’ positions during offside scenarios without the need for lengthy analysis by referees, streamlining the process.

The decision to implement this technology received unanimous support from Premier League clubs during a recent shareholders’ meeting. While the technology may not be available at the start of the season, it is seen as a positive step towards moving away from the manual process of drawing lines on camera images. The adoption of this technology was endorsed by Howard Webb, head of the referees’ body PGMOL, after its successful use in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This system not only speeds up the review process but also generates quality live graphics for display within stadiums, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

The new semi-automated system is aimed at ensuring quicker and more consistent placement of virtual offside lines through optical player tracking. With the support of referees like Howard Webb and the backing of Premier League clubs, the introduction of this technology is eagerly anticipated. The onus now lies on the referees to adapt quickly to this new system, which is set to be introduced during the upcoming fall season.

By Samantha Robertson

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