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Premier League Announces Adoption of Semi-Automated Offside Technology for Next Season


In a significant move aimed at streamlining decision-making processes, the Premier League has announced its intention to introduce AI-based player tracking technology for offside calls starting from the next season. This decision, reached unanimously by England's top-division clubs, is expected to minimise the time required for officials to make crucial judgments during matches.


The league disclosed on Thursday that the new system, termed semi-automated offside technology, is slated for launch within the first half of the upcoming season. According to league officials, this technology will facilitate swift and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, leveraging optical player tracking capabilities. Additionally, it promises to deliver high-quality broadcast graphics, enhancing the viewing experience for fans both in-stadium and on broadcast platforms.


Although semi-automated offside technology made its debut during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, utilising a ball sensor to track acceleration, the Premier League's implementation will align more closely with UEFA's system used in the Champions League.


Further details regarding the specifics of the offside technology are expected to be revealed by the Premier League upon finalisation of contracts. Rigorous testing and analysis have been conducted throughout the current season, drawing insights from the technology's existing application in Italy's Serie A.


The process involves multiple cameras tracking player movements and recording relevant data points on body parts crucial for offside decisions. Artificial intelligence processes this data to generate a 3D offside line, which is then relayed to the team of VAR officials.


It is anticipated that this technology will significantly reduce the average time taken for VAR officials to reach decisions, potentially shaving off around 30 seconds from the current manual process. Moreover, it aims to instil greater confidence in decision-making following notable errors in previous instances.


To ensure operational continuity, a manual backup system will remain available in case of any technical failures with the semi-automated technology. With these advancements, the Premier League looks poised to usher in a new era of efficiency and accuracy in officiating.

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