In July 2022, FIFA made the announcement that it would be utilizing a new VAR technology in the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup. This is known as semi-automated offside and will fix the problem that many players, staff, and fans had with the use of VAR technology.

Pioneered at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, video assistant referee tech allowed officials on and off the field to make quicker, fairer decisions. Using video playbacks to assist decisions, FIFA has gradually improved the technology. This has been done to make sure it is beneficial to the game and does not take away the excitement and unpredictability of a match. As explained by, working alongside Adidas, semi-automated offside alerts are the next big step.

What Was the Problem with Var and Offside?

Criticism of VAR and its application to the offside rule has been just. Many of the problems came down to the perspective used by the system. This did not account for the perspective of players and fans, many of whom viewed offside decisions from other angles. Thus, many quickly lost faith in the system and its decision-making process.

Added to this was the fact that the system was providing long delays, which would hamper the flow and urgency of a game. This was counter to what VAR technology was there to do in the first place.

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As a fan, this could be frustrating as pieces looked onside, but VAR said they were off. Not only was it bad for fans and players, but many industries used these decisions to earn profit. The upcoming World Cup in Qatar will be one of the most competitive to date. On the tips and punditry provided on, Brazil is currently favored at 5/1, closely followed by previous winners France, England, Spain, and Argentina. With people betting in real-time, it is important these decisions are quick and correct.

There is also a lot riding on this World Cup being a success. Hosting the event in Qatar has drawn criticism, both from those in the industry and elsewhere. Amnesty International has launched campaigns into the working practices of those employed to build stadiums, along with criticism of the country’s human rights records. The World Cup has also been dogged by allegations of corruption. From the organizer’s perspective, it will need to be perfect.

How Does the New System Work?

At, we find a summary of how the system will work. It sends an automated alert to officials in a video control room. This will provide them with two data points, including a kick point and the automated line. Match officials must then validate these before the information goes to the referee on the pitch. Hopefully, it should increase both the speed and accuracy of which offside decisions can be made.

Part of the problem with previous systems was that they could only use images from broadcast cameras, situated in specific locations. These cameras reside on the roof of the stadium and follow all twenty-two players on the pitch. Tracked at 50 frames a second, it is quick and easy to get their exact positions.


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