Semi-automated offside technology is finally coming to the Premier League. On Thursday, the English top flight announced that its clubs collectively voted to implement the technology for the 2024/25 season. All 20 of the Premier League teams voted in favor of making the switch.

Although the technology will soon enter Premier League matches, it will not be available at the start of the next campaign. League officials claimed that semi-automated offside technology is making its debut following an international break in the fall. The 2024/25 season, however, will begin in August.

“At a Premier League Shareholders’ meeting today, clubs unanimously agreed to the introduction of semi-automated offside technology,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“The new system will be used for the first time in the Premier League next season, and it is anticipated the technology will be ready to be introduced after one of the autumn international breaks.”

Premier League clubs previously blocked technology for the 2023/24 season

Semi-automated offside technology quickly tracks players on the pitch to determine whether or not they have strayed offside. After a questionable play, VAR officials are signaled by the technology to stop the match while a check occurs. While traditional VAR reviews can take a few minutes to hopefully get a correct call, this semi-automated technology is significantly faster and more accurate.

The technology has featured in UEFA competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League since the start of the 2022/23 season. It was also in place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Italy’s Serie A uses the fast-checking offside technology as well.

Premier League clubs previously rejected the chance to implement semi-automated offside technology ahead of the current campaign. English teams wanted to limit the use of technology in their matches. They have since drastically changed their minds as Premier League officials continue to make massive mistakes in matches.

Semi-automated offside in the Premier League helps referees and satisfies fans

English referees are seemingly under constant pressure from coaches, players and fans for poor decisions. Liverpool‘s wrongly disallowed goal against Tottenham Hotspur in September was undoubtedly the biggest officiating blemish of the season. However, there have been various other blunders throughout the campaign as well.

As a result, the Premier League charged multiple top-flight coaches with bad behavior toward referees. Implementing semi-automated offside technology will not completely fix poor officiating or end protests from managers. However, it will surely help referees make offside calls with more precision.

Not only does the technology accurately determine offside in a game, but the speed of the decisions will also appease fans. Many soccer viewers believe traditional VAR reviews kill the atmosphere inside the actual stadiums. Semi-offside technology takes just a fraction of the time as full VAR reviews.

The Premier League’s decision to implement the technology is certainly a step in the right direction. After all, the division is the top soccer league in the world. Continuous bad referring in the English top flight is unacceptable for such a prestigious division.

Nevertheless, not including the technology from the start of the 2024/25 season may create issues. Clubs could feel slighted by a poor offside decision by VAR early in the campaign, only for other calls later in the campaign to be correct. For example, the Liverpool decision at Spurs came early in the campaign. The implementation of semi-automated offside in the Premier League is likely coming after September 2024, so we could have a similar debacle next campaign.