FIFA’s semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) will not be coming to the Premier League anytime soon. The English top flight has reportedly rejected the chance to introduce the technology ahead of the 2023/24 season. This is despite the fact that a series of VAR-rated blunders plagued the league in recent years.
The technology quickly tracks players’ limbs to determine if they have strayed offside. VAR officials are then signaled by the technology to stop the game while the check is in process. Although traditional VAR reviews can take minutes to get a correct call, SAOT is significantly faster.
Success in FIFA, UEFA competitions
SAOT was in place during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The technology was widely seen as a success at the tournament. UEFA competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League also utilized SAOT throughout the 2022/23 season. The technology helped rightly rule out Fiorentina’s possible goal only seconds from the halftime whistle in the Conference League Final against West Ham.
The Daily Mail has claimed that the topic of SAOT will not make it on the agenda of the Premier League’s Annual General Meeting. Representatives of all 20 teams will meet mid-June. However, the English top flight will be making some tweaks to their VAR system in place.
Premier League adding cameras, but not for semi-automated offside
Each Premier League club may add four additional cameras to its stadium this summer. This would provide VAR with more camera angles to help better determine infractions. The Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL), England’s head of soccer refereeing, agreed stadiums needed to add more cameras. A final decision on the move will come down to a vote by the Premier League clubs.
PGMOL and VAR in England was seemingly under constant pressure during the 2022/23 campaign. The refereeing body apologized to multiple top-flight teams throughout the season for incorrect calls. One particular incident involved Lee Mason failing to draw offside lines during a matchup between Arsenal and Brentford. Mason left his role following the mishap.
Although the Premier League has said no to the semi-automated offside technology, Spain’s LaLiga is welcoming it with open arms, as are other leagues in Europe.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PRiME Media Images
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