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Semi-automated offside technology to debut at AFC Asian Cup 2023

The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ will debut Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT), enhancing decision-making for match officials with 12 specialized cameras and artificial intelligence.

Semi-automated offside technology to debut at AFC Asian Cup 2023

Indian Football team won 2021 edition of SAFF (Image via AIFF)


Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 19 Dec 2023 9:20 AM GMT

The upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ will witness the introduction of the Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT), revolutionizing decision-making for match officials across all 51 matches of the tournament.

India is in Group B of AFC Asian Cup 2023 along with Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria.

Scheduled to take place from January 12 to February 10, 2024, in Qatar, the deployment of SAOT complements the full debut of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, which demonstrated success during its introduction at the Quarter-final stage in the 2019 edition held in the United Arab Emirates.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa expressed confidence in the capabilities of Asian match officials, stating, “The landmark debut of the Semi-Automated Offside Technology will only serve to drive them to set higher standards.” Emphasizing the AFC's commitment to leadership in world refereeing, he highlighted the incorporation of cutting-edge technological innovations to provide the ultimate stage for players, teams, and match officials.

The SAOT system, subject to extensive testing aligned with FIFA protocols and IFAB approval, utilizes 12 specialized cameras strategically positioned to precisely track the ball and players on the field. Notably, it assesses the position of relevant body parts for offside decisions, enabling swift and accurate position checks through artificial intelligence.

Upon detecting a player perceived to be offside, an alert is transmitted to the VAR for immediate position verification using automatically drawn offside lines. Final decisions will always necessitate validation from the VAR before informing the on-field referee, ensuring a collaborative and meticulous approach.

Following the decision-making process, data points used for determining player positions will be transformed into a 3D animation displayed on giant screens at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ stadiums and shared with TV broadcasters. This transparent presentation aims to provide fans with insight into the decision-making process, marking a significant step toward technological advancements in football officiating.

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