Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT)

  • IASbaba
  • November 30, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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In news: In the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022, the first goal of the tournament was ruled out for offside.

  • FIFA’s brand new Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) was responsible for the quick decision.
  • FIFA tested the whole technology at both the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar and the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi

Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT):

  • There are two parts to the technology —
  • a sensor inside the that is held using suspension technology
  • Video Assistant Referee (VAR) existing technology having tracking tools
  • Kinexon, a German company has designed a small in-ball device which gives precise positional data and detects ball movement in a three-dimensional space.
  • Every time the ball is hit, data is sent in real time (at a whopping 500 frames per second) to a network of antennae installed around the playing field.
  • These two data sets are run through artificial intelligence software which generates automated alerts about offsides to the match officials. This replaces the manual effort taken in poring over replays for minutes on end.
  • Additionally, there are 12 Hawk-Eye cameras set up around the turf that shadow both the ball and the players, with as many as 29 separate points in the human body tracked.
  • The coming together of the ball sensor and the Hawk-Eye cameras is in effect SAOT.
  • Further, to synchronise the data from the ball sensor and Hawk-Eye, a Precision Time Protocol clock is used.
  • Significance: It allows for highly accurate and quick decisions.
  • As per FIFA, SAOT is only a confirmatory tool and the final decision always belongs to the match official — on the VAR, the video assistant referee, on the field of play, to the referee
  • The data transmission rate from the ball (500 frames per second or 500Hz) makes the process accurate.
  • The time between two frames is two milliseconds (1/500), which is 10 times better than a standard 50Hz video that is commonly used in High Definition monitors.
  • It gets down the precision to up to one-millionth of a second.
  • Uses: Offside decision-making, can be used by coaches for tactical analyses and gauging individual athlete performances, for scouting good players (like Second Spectrum tracking does in the NBA).
  • It can aid statistical thinking and data mining in football through data on ball trajectories, movement, distances covered and the pace of the court among others.


  • The match ball is Adidas’s Al Rihla
  • Hawk-Eye cameras have been in use in tennis since 2006.
  • Difference between normal offside — where a player is flagged because of active involvement irrespective of whether he touches the ball — and ‘passive offside’ — where a player will not be flagged despite being in an offside position if he does not touch the ball

Source: The Hindu


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