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A new era in football: Semi-automated offside to debut in the UEFA Super Cup

The so-called Semi-Automated Offside Technology will make its official debut in the UEFA Super Cup between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Back in July, FIFA announced that the new technology will be also used at the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar starting on November 21.

What is semi-automated offside and how does it work?

The urgency of UEFA and FIFA to speed up refereeing decisions has led to the implementation of a new system for semi-automated offside detection.

SAOT is a multi-camera technology that can better track players' limbs and establish the precise moment of the pass.

"There will be between 10 and 12 cameras that detect 29 points on the player's body 50 times per second," explained former referee and current FIFA director of refereeing Pierluigi Collina.

"A software analyses the data in real time, perfectly calculating the moment of the pass and the position of the players, inserting the grids to highlight the offside.

"There is talk of robot referees, it looks good, but it's not true.

"On-field referees will continue to be decisive. Semi-automatic offside will only be used when a player who is offside touches the ball. If there is interference in the play, it will be the referee's decision.

"In four or five seconds is impossible, it will be in 25 or 20 seconds, which is very important. The aim is to be quicker and more accurate."

Twelve cameras installed under the roof of the stadium will capture the ball's movements. The 29 data sets collected include the limbs and body parts that are taken into account to generate an offside.

Furthermore, this information can be used to design 3D images that reflect the player's situation at the exact moment of the offside, which can be displayed on video scoreboards in stadiums and on TV broadcasts of matches.

"UEFA is constantly looking for new technological solutions to improve the game and support the work of the referees," said Roberto Rosetti, UEFA's chief refereeing officer.

"This innovative system will allow VAR teams to determine offside situations quickly and more accurately, enhancing the flow of the game and the consistency of the decisions.

"The system is ready to be used in official matches and implemented at each Champions League venue."

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