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What is semi-automated offside technology? New Premier League support tool explained

Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to the introduction of semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) for the 2024/25 season onwards.

The system, which is already utilised in the Champions League, will assist with offside decisions and is expected to cut the average length of a VAR check by 30 seconds.

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How does semi-automated offside technology work?

The system that will be introduced by the Premier League requires 12 cameras inside a stadium which track the ball and 29 data points on each player.

Unlike in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, this system does not require a chip in the ball.

Camera footage and tracking software calculate the position of players to deliberate whether they're offside. Assistant referees will be informed of any offsides while play is ongoing so that they can raise their flags if an offending player is involved.

Decisions are now expected to be made in seconds and 3D automated images will be displayed on giant screens at stadiums to demonstrate the technology in action.

When will semi-automated offside technology be introduced?

The technology will be utilised in the 2024/25 Premier League season, with an expected introduction time of either September or October at the earliest.

The Premier League stated they wish to have the system in place after one of the autumn international breaks.

What have the Premier League said?

In a statement on the technology's introduction, the Premier League said: “At a Premier League Shareholders’ meeting today, clubs unanimously agreed to the introduction of Semi-Automated Offside Technology.

“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 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.”

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