FIFA Prez Gianni Infantino reviews off-side tech, praises referees

FIFA has reviewed the technologies to be used in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches, the world football body said on Saturday, a day before the start of the tournament.

FIFA has reviewed the technologies to be used in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches, the world football body said on Saturday, a day before the start of the tournament.

FIFA officials said at a press conference in Doha that the semi-automatic off-side technology has been specially vetted.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. who was present at the press conference, threw his weight behind the match officials at the World Cup. Praising their dedication, professionalism and ability to cope with pressure, he said: “These 129 match officials are doing the most difficult
job among all of us, either here in Qatar or at home. They are top professionals, they are motivated in an incredible way.”


“The referees for us are not only one team, but they are Team One. They are the most important team at the World Cup because, without the referees’ team, there is no World Cup,” the FIFA chief added.

Infantino said that fans who are unhappy with refereeing decisions should try to put themselves in the ref’s position. “I am as much a fan as everyone else and I get upset as much as you when there is a mistake or when I simply don’t agree with the decision of the referee because I support a particular team,” he said.

“I am asking everyone to try to put yourselves in the shoes of the referees just for a moment, (imagine) you were on the ground in front of 80,000 people in a stadium, a few hundred million on television and you have to take instant decisions which can affect entire countries,” the FIFA chief added.

VAR offside decisions will be quicker and more accurate at the World Cup after the introduction of new technology developed by FIFA over the last three years, referees’ chief Pierluigi Collina said at the press meet.

The ‘semi-automatic offside technology’ will rule on even the tightest offside decisions more quickly than under the previous system and a 3D animated rendering of the incident will be broadcast for fans in the stadium and on TV. “(It) gives us the possibility to be faster and more accurate in terms of decisions about off-side,” Collina added.

“Just to be clear, being faster does not mean we will have an instantaneous assessment of offside. It will be less than what it is now, certainly, but we cannot have an answer in one second, or basically live.

“I want to emphasise that the final decision always belongs to the match official — on the VAR, the video assistant referee, on the field of play, to the referee.”

Twelve cameras in each stadium will track 29 points on the body of each player and a sensor inside the match ball will send data to the VAR operations room 500 times a second to allow a highly accurate assessment of when the pass was played. The new technology has already been tried at two FIFA tournaments and in test matches at the World Cup venues.

“We analysed the data and the outcome was very positive,” said Johannes Holzmueller, FIFA’s director of technology and innovation. “It’s the most accurate supporting off-side tool at the moment.”

Holzmueller added that the previous offside technology would be available in Qatar but only as a backup.

Collina said his team has briefed all 32 team coaches and referees had been instructed to
sanction anything that would endanger the health of another player with red cards, including elbows to the face, studs-up tackles and dangerously high feet.


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