Serie A to introduce semi-automatic offside technology from January 4, 2023: How does it work?

Semi-automatic offsides have been a success at the 2022 World Cup, and it has now been confirmed that we'll have them in Serie A when the 2022/23 season returns after Christmas.

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The semi-automated offside technology that has been in use during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be implemented in Serie A when the 2022/23 season returns after Christmas in January 2023.

The introduction of the technology has been widely discussed in Italy while most of the world’s attention has been on the ongoing World Cup, and the decision to make use of it has now been confirmed by Lega Serie A president Lorenzo Casini

“We’re ready to apply it in Italy as we’ve seen it be applied at the World Cup,” Casini told Rai Italia. 

“Semi-automatic offsides will be used from the next round of Serie A [Matchday 16] on January 4.

Referee Daniele Chiffi consults his VAR monitor. (Photo: Getty)

How does semi-automatic offside work? 

The technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras inside the stadium and up to 29 data points on each individual player on the pitch, as well as the ball. The positions are calculated 50 times per second and include all body parts that are relevant for offside decisions.

A sensor inside the ball sends data 500 times per second in order to get as precise a moment as is possible for when a touch on the ball is made.

The technology then provides an automated offside alert to the video match officials when a ball has been received by an attacking player who was in an offside position when the ball was played by a teammate. The on-field official is then informed, and the video officials confirm the decision by manually checking the selected kick point and the automatically-generated offside line. The process takes a matter of seconds, allowing more accurate and faster decisions to be made.

What does Pierluigi Collina think?

Former Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, currently chairman of FIFA’s Referees Committee, gave his thoughts on the technology.

“VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced,” Collina said. “We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further. 

Referee Marco Di Bello consults VAR. (Photo: Getty)

“We are aware that sometimes the process to check a possible offside takes too long, especially when the offside incident is very tight. This is where semi-automated offside technology comes in – to offer faster and more accurate decisions.

“I know that someone called it ‘robot offside’; it’s not. The referees and the assistant referees are still responsible for the decision on the field of play.”

Other Serie A reforms

Casini continued, in that same interview with Rai, to reveal that other changes and improvements would be to come in Italian football’s top tier.

“After Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, we felt that as a league it was our duty to examine the state of play and propose reforms across all areas,” Casini added. 

“Those include within the sporting sector – for example, improving VAR and effective timekeeping – and to enhance the experience of young people as well.”

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