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Explained: What is semi-automated offside technology that will debut in UEFA Super Cup?

The Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) will make its official debut in the UEFA Super Cup between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki on Wednesday. Here's all you need to know:

football explained semi-automated offside technology that will debut in UEFA Super Cup real madrid vs eintracht frankfurt snt
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Helsinki, First Published Aug 10, 2022, 4:53 PM IST

On Wednesday at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt, the Semi-Automated Offside Technology will make its official debut. The new technology will be utilised at the 2022 World Cup, which will begin on November 21 in Qatar, FIFA said back in July.

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New technology for semi-automated offside identification has been put in place due to UEFA and FIFA's urgent need to speed up refereeing judgments. SAOT is a multi-camera system that can more accurately track players' limbs and determine when the pass was made.

According to former referee and current FIFA Director of refereeing Pierluigi Collina, between 10 and 12 cameras will detect 29 points on the player's body 50 times per second. A software analyses the data in real-time, perfectly calculating the moment of the pass and the position of the players, inserting the grids to highlight the offside.

Collina mentioned that although talks of robot referees look good, it is not true. "On-field referees will continue to be decisive. Semi-automatic offside will only be used when a player who is offside touches the ball. If there is interference in the play, it will be the referee's decision," he added.

"In four or five seconds is impossible, it will be in 25 or 20 seconds, which is very important. The aim is to be quicker and more accurate," Collina concluded.

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The motions of the ball will be recorded by twelve cameras positioned under the stadium's ceiling. The limbs and body components considered in calculating an offside are included in the 29 data sets that were gathered.

Additionally, using this data, 3D representations that depict the player's circumstances at the precise offside moment can be created and shown on TV broadcasts of games and visual scoreboards in stadiums.

"UEFA is constantly looking for new technological solutions to improve the game and support the work of the referees," Roberto Rosetti, UEFA's chief refereeing officer, said.

"This innovative system will allow VAR teams to determine offside situations quickly and more accurately, enhancing the flow of the game and the consistency of the decisions. The system is ready to be used in official matches and implemented at each Champions League venue," Rosetti added.

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