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AI will help referees make decisions during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup
AI will help referees make decisions during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup

Artificial intelligence (AI) will help referees

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) will help referees make decisions during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup. The world governing body has tested the use of limb-tracking offside technology. Which uses artificial intelligence and an array of cameras around the stadium. To follow the player’s movements and instantly create a virtual offside line for the referee.

The technology has been used in the Club World Cup and the FIFA Arab Cup. So far, FIFA expects it to be used in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

As VAR (Video Assistant Referee), was first used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Remains a controversial and relatively unpopular element in the modern game. There are natural concerns about adding a new layer of technology to the AI decision-making process.

Dr. Patrick Lucey, chief scientist at sports data company Stats Perform. Says FIFA is on the right track when it comes to limb tracking.

Rather than a fully automatic decision. AI is being used to take accurate measurements and create offside lines. That previously had to be drawn manually, he said. This eliminates human error. But the final decision is still made by humans.

A referee or assistant referee can look at an AI-created image and immediately know if a player is offside. But a human referee can also use their own judgment to determine. If the player is interfering with play or if there is some other reason why a goal must be given.

Uses artificial intelligence and an array of cameras around the stadium
Uses artificial intelligence and an array of cameras around the stadium

Dr. Patrick Lucey

Lucey said the approach combines. “letting people do what they’re really good at and letting computers do what they’re really good at”. That’s why Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee, said it was not “robot offside”.

As computers process the line graph. VAR offside decisions will be much more accurate and faster eliminating one of the main criticisms of VAR.

By making faster and more accurate decisions, it appears that this AI element will improve VAR. Hopefully, make it a less intrusive and controversial element. Allowing our fans to focus on the actions of the players, not the actions of the officials.

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