August 3 – In the latest attempt to improve marginal VAR decisions and improve accuracy, UEFA has announced that for the first time it will use semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) to detect when players are offside in the Champions League this season.
The system will have its European debut when Champions League holders Real Madrid face Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup in Finland next week.
Under the system, specialised cameras are positioned across stadiums to track 29 body parts of every player and follows trials in several competitions over the past two years with a total of 188 tests. While the referee and his assistants will still make on-field calls, it is anticipated that the practice of rewinding TV footage will no longer be necessary.
“UEFA is constantly looking for new technological solutions to improve the game and support the work of the referees,” UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer Roberto Rosetti said in a statement.
“This innovative system will allow Video Assistant Referee (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.”
The technology will be used from the group stage of the Champions League onwards as UEFA moves ahead of FIFA which is planning to employ the system at the World Cup in Qatar.
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