Women’s World Cup 2023: How does semi-automated offside tech work and what is it?

Women’s World Cup 2023: How does semi-automated offside tech work and what is it?

Offside decisions at this summer’s Fifa Women’s World Cup are set to be made more quickly thanks to camera tracking technology.

Adidas’s Oceaunz match ball will be used and is decorated with patterns in tribute to the Māori and Aboriginal communities in New Zealand and Australia where the tournament will be held. Inside the ball is the connected technology that was first used at the men’s tournament last year in Qatar.

Fifa said: “The new technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch.

“The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making offside calls.”

Those points are then used to automatically draw the lines which establish whether or not a player is onside, removing the need for the arduous manual drawing.

Adidas’s World Cup ball, meanwhile, is fitted with a sensor that sends data back to a video operation room about 500 times a second to determine the exact moment a pass is played.

Both the offside lines and pass-point are generated automatically, but then manually reviewed by the VAR – hence the term “semi-automated” – before the on-field officials are notified of an offside call. Should the VAR disagree with either element, they have the ability to revert to manual offside technology.

A 3D animation of incidents will be shown on big screens to keep fans in the loop, but the technology cannot be used in more complex situations, such as determining whether a player in an offside position has interfered with a goalkeeper’s view of the ball.

The technology allowed decisions to be made more quickly and clearly at Qatar 2022 and it could soon also be seen in the Premier League.

The 2023 ball features designs by Aboriginal artist Chern’ee Sutton and Māori artist Fiona Collis.

Australia and New Zealand are technically part of two different federations with the former now classified as in Asia and the latter in Oceania. It means this will be the first time that a world cup has been hosted between two different federations.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura said: “Adidas has created an iconic official match ball for the FIFA Women’s World Cup that reflects diversity, inclusivity and togetherness, fitting themes for the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by two different countries from different confederations.”