FIFA to use new high-tech for offside calls at World Cup

GENEVA (AP) — FIFA will introduce new technology to improve offside calls at the World Cup in Qatar this year, using a limb-tracking camera system.

FIFA said Friday it is ready to launch semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) that uses multiple cameras to track player movements plus a sensor in the ball — and will quickly show 3D images on stadium screens at the tournament to help fans understand the referee’s call.

It's the third World Cup in a row that sees FIFA introduce new technology to help referees.

Goal-line technology was ready for the 2014 tournament in Brazil after a notorious refereeing error in 2010. In 2018, video review to help referees judge game-changing incidents was rolled out in Russia.

The new offside system promises faster and more accurate decisions than are currently made with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, even though the 2018 World Cup avoided major mistakes on offside calls.

Controversy has since flared in European leagues, especially where VAR officials draw on-screen lines over players for marginal calls. They have been mocked as “armpit offsides” because of the tiny margins.