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Qatar 2022 World Cup to implement semi-automated offside VAR

By Andrew Steel

Doha, July 1: FIFA has confirmed it will utilise semi-automated VAR offside technology at the Qatar 2022 World Cup later this year, says head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina.

The move to introduce further advancements in the VAR process for this year's showpiece tournament has been ongoing over the past few months.

Following trials at the Arab Cup and Club World Cup, the fresh processes – which can cut VAR decision-making from 70 seconds to 25 seconds – is set to be implemented in the Gulf State in November.

Collina, a former World Cup final referee when he took charge of Brazil's win over Germany at Korea/Japan 2002, says the time is now to bring in semi-automated technology, which will further enhance decision-making.

"We are very positive. It is ready," he stated. "I read about robot referees. I understand this is very good for headlines, but it is not the case.

"The match officials are still involved in the decision-making process. The semi-automated technology only gives an answer when a player is in an offside position when they play the ball.

"The assessment of interfering with an opponent and seeing if a handball or foul was committed remains at the discretion of the referee. Our goal is to get referees taking decisions correctly on the field.

"If something wrong should happen, the referee may take advantage of the technology to get a better vision of what happened – but there will still be room for discussion."

Semi-automated technology will make use of in-ball sensors, dedicated multi-tracking camera rigs and 29 rapid data points on players to help calculate exact positions.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup opens on November 21, with Senegal facing the Netherlands and England squaring off with Iran before the hosts play the official opening game against Ecuador.

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Story first published: Friday, July 1, 2022, 16:00 [IST]
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