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FIFA ask tech companies to set up new system for automated VAR offsides

Could offside calls be AUTOMATED? FIFA asks firms to come up with new technology that will help decide close VAR calls based on algorithms of what IS and ISN’T offside, based on hundreds of real incidents

  • FIFA are working with tech companies to oversee the development of VAR 
  • Across Europe the system has been criticised for handling of tight offside calls 
  • Tests will be carried out to determine whether offside can be called by algorithm
  • FIFA also discussed development of the VAR ‘light’ concept to improve visuals

Offside has taken one big step closer to being determined purely by automated technology, rather than the current Video Assistant Referee system of dotted lines and a second pair of eyes.

VAR offside controversies have been swirling around Europe all season so far, causing big talking points in every major league on the continent.

Fans have been left in uproar from the Premier League to La Liga and the Bundesliga after controversial decisions have been using multiple drawn lines and the discretion of a few individuals huddled around screens independent of the stadium.

FIFA has moved closer to doing away with drawn lines and making offside calls automated

But now this could all be about to change, after FIFA this week announced it has asked technology companies to develop ways to improve visuals to help its officials.

Three companies have put their names forward to enter the next development phase in hope of providing a permanent solution to the problem.

In a bid to improve the system, FIFA said companies would be provided with ‘anonymised datasets’ of offside decisions based on which they should present possible solutions.

Fans have been left furious this season after seeing multiple controversial VAR decisions made

Fans have been left furious this season after seeing multiple controversial VAR decisions made

‘The aim of this development phase is to further improve the algorithms of the systems based on a collection of datasets from hundreds of different offside incidents,’ the governing body said.

FIFA also said it discussed the development of the VAR ‘light’ concept, which aims to create more affordable technology which can be implemented at all levels of the game.

The plans are all said to be part of a bigger picture, whereby the VAR process is overhauled and fine-tuned in order to be in the best possible condition ahead of the 2022 World Cup. 

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