Eventually, life imitates video games. Because video games are art, yes? Unfortunately the means eventually we’ll compete for fame in 100-person televised elimination contests where the main prize is death. But, right now, it just means that football overlords FIFA are bringing a feature from the video games to real life.
At the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, the organisation is testing something called semi-automated offside technology. The name is fairly explanatory. It works like that computer-generated LBW thing from televised cricket matches, only it points out whether football players are offside. By tracking their limbs, naturally.
FIFA filches features
The organisation’s Johannes Holzmüller explains that the tech is powered by camera setups mounted in the roof of a stadium. “The limb tracking data extracted from the video will be sent to the operations rooms and the calculated offside line and detected kick-point is provided to the replay operator in almost real-time,” he continued.
Is semi-automated offside technology ripped straight from EA’s football titles? Not really. But it’s more or less the same thing, in that a computer is helping the ref make a decision. It’s just that EA’s refs are also computers. Here, humans still have the final call.
According to FIFA’s chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina, “In an offside incident, the decision is made after having analysed not only the players’ position but also, their involvement in the move. Technology – today or tomorrow – can draw a line but the assessment of an interference with play or with an opponent remains in the referee’s hands.”