Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT)

Aditi Dosi
2 min readNov 29, 2022
FIFA have held further successful tests of semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) during the FIFA Club World Cup™ 2021 in Abu Dhabi alongside 3D animations displayed on the stadium big screen and on TV, that give spectators greater insight into offside decisions.

The SAOT is an extension of the VAR system already employed in 47 countries across the world and in more than 100 competitions including all FIFA competitions.

Ten dedicated cameras, as well as several television broadcast cameras, are set up in the stadium to track 18 data points of each individual player, giving their position on the pitch. The number of data points is expected to increase to 29 points per player by the time of the FIFA World Cup. This data, is then relayed to an AVAR specifically dedicated to offside decisions to check and make their recommendation to the VAR and the on-field referee. This process happens in real time and so means decisions can be made on offside calls in seconds. “We’re also tracking the limbs — we’re tracking the arms and the legs — and we know exactly where all those players are at every moment in the game,” explained FIFA’s Head of Football Technology Sebastian Runge.

“This technology is the culmination of three years of dedicated research and testing to provide the very best for the teams, players and fans who will be heading to Qatar later this year, 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,” he added.

The workflow of semi-automated offside technology and the connected ball technology has been successfully trialled at numerous test events and live at FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Club World Cup and FIFA Arab Cup 2021 last year.

During these matches, the new technology was able to support the video match officials by helping them make more accurate and reproducible offside decisions in a shorter period of time.