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EPL will begin the use of offside technology from next season

The Premier League will introduce semi-automated offside technology from next season, in the hope of reducing the time it takes to make VAR decisions

EPL to begin semi-automated offside technology from next season

The system will use camera footage and tracking software to calculate the position of players at the moment of a potential offside, replacing the need for VAR teams to do so. In trials, this process has been shown to reduce the average length of a VAR decision by 31 seconds.

Clubs voted unanimously to introduce the technology at a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, with its first use expected in the autumn but not at the season’s start. The league had previously expressed reservations over adopting the technology but it has received the full backing of the referees’ chief Howard Webb, who said he was “delighted” by the news.

Semi-automated offside technology was used successfully during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It eliminates the need for VARs to manually add lines to camera images and will produce graphics that can be shown to fans in stadiums. VARs may still be required to assess offside decisions in the event of a goal being scored, depending on the complexity of the assessment.

Webb and the referees’ body PGMOL are in discussions over allowing fans to see the footage examined by referees at VAR monitors at the same time as officials. There is the expectation that short messages on the outcome of VAR decisions will be announced by referees in stadiums next season.

In a statement the league said: “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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