Soccer-Premier League to introduce semi-automated offside technology next season

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Brighton & Hove Albion - The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain - April 26, 2023 A big screen displays a VAR review message with a no goal for offside REUTERS/Molly Darlington/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) -The Premier League will introduce semi-automated offside technology next season to speed up decision-making after the clubs unanimously agreed on the move at a shareholders' meeting on Thursday.

The technology has been in use in major tournaments and helps limit the need for long waits for VAR reviews, where match officials manually check if a player is offside or not, while also reducing the margins for error.

"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," the league said in a statement.

"The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters."

The Premier League currently has VAR officials check offsides but the system has faced heavy criticism for the time taken to come to a decision while also leaving fans in the stadium in the dark with no replays.

The technology involves several cameras tracking the ball as well as each player. The technology alone cannot determine if a player is offside, with VAR still having to validate it based on the data available -- hence the term "semi-automated".

The technology has been used in the 2022 World Cup and the Champions League, while most recently it was implemented at the Asian Cup earlier this year.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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