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Premier League rule change could make Nicolas Jackson's life harder at Chelsea

Nicolas Jackson celebrates scoring a goal for Chelsea
-Credit: (Image: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)


The Premier League is set to introduce semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) from next season - which will have a major impact on the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

It's a system that is being used to replace the current format of footage being reviewed by officials at Stockley Park, with instant verdicts instead. This is expected to cut the delay of fans, players and staff waiting inside stadiums across the country for offside decisions to be given.

Serie A was the first European division to switch to SAOT. La Liga and the Premier League will be the next to introduce the change, although the technology will not be ready for the beginning of the campaign, with the middle of September a realistic start date.

Speaking about that topic in a statement earlier this year, the Premier League said: "The new system will be used for the first time in the Premier League next season, and it is anticipated the technology will be ready to be introduced after one of the Autumn international breaks.

"The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters."

Strikers are the main players who are not expected to benefit from the new format because attackers are currently given the benefit of the doubt due to flaws in the process relating to accuracy and consistency. This will, however, be eradicated under the reformed new technology.

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It's predicted that more goals will be disallowed next season, with marginal calls being given offside for an armpit or toenail likely to go in favour of the defending side.

Ten cameras are to be installed under the roof of the 20 Premier League grounds, including the Emirates, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Stamford Bridge. This will provide for optimal tracking of every player on the pitch, with 29 data points to be recorded on all limbs that are relevant for an offside decision.

All data will be processed in real time by AI, which is set to trigger an alert to VAR when an offside decision has been detected. This has to be validated by VAR before the referee is informed whether the correct call has been reached, proving for a smoother process rather than the long waiting around.

This could impact the likes of Nicolas Jackson next season. Only Darwin Nunez (33) was caught offside more often than the Chelsea forward (28) during the 2023/24 campaign. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (24), Jean Philippe-Mateta (24) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (21) make up the top five.