FIFA AI will automate offside calls during World Cup matches

FIFA and artificial intelligence are two things people don’t usually mix together, but that’s about to change. The FIFA organization has announced that the FIFA World Cup will be using a new FFIFA AI and all sorts of tech to judge offside calls during games. This method will debut during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

FIFA AI, Cameras, and Sensors

Soon, offside calls in FIFA league matches will be called by artificial intelligence. Using a mixture of cameras, sensors, and AI, players who perform an offside foul will be caught by computers instead of humans.

This isn’t the first time FIFA has used this system. In fact, several matches have already used this method, but it will likely be more refined once the 2022 World Cup starts. Expect more games to use this as time goes on.

The cameras will be placed on stadium ceilings, looking over an entire match from multiple angles. Fans can expect them to track the ball and 29 points of a player’s body 50 times per second. A sensor in the ball will broadcast inertial data 500 times per second. Soon after, all the data from the ball will be processed by AI in real-time, so video operators know the exact position of players and the ball itself.

All of this is being done so that referees will have more data when it comes to making major decisions. Referees have been criticized in the past for making bad decisions or missing major illegalities from other players, so the hope is that all of this fixes these issues.

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Humans will still make major decisions

Despite some fans being fearful that this will make FIFA more robotic feeling, Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, claims that everything is still up to the referees. Now that they will be getting all this data, the hope is to lessen mistakes being made during games.

“I know that someone called it ‘robot offside’; it’s not,” said Collina. “The referees and the assistant referees are still responsible for the decision on the field of play.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told The Verge that all this research and data is to provide the “very best” for their players and fans. Considering the theoretical amount of data that’s coming from this technology, fans can hope for the best when watching these games.

Infantino said the following: “This technology is the culmination of three years of dedicated research and testing to provide the very best for the teams, players and fans [...] and FIFA is proud of this work, as we look forward to the world seeing the benefits of semi-automated offside technology at the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

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