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Premier League to introduce semi-automated offside technology next season

All 20 Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to implement semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) at a shareholder meeting today.

The decision to embrace this cutting-edge system is a major leap forward for the league’s officiating and will help to make calls more accurate. 

The semi-automated offside technology will debut next season and is expected to be operational after one of the autumn international breaks. 

Its introduction promises quicker and more consistent placement of the virtual offside line, utilising advanced optical player tracking technology. 

This innovative approach aims to eliminate human error and ensure fairer officiating on the field.

The SAOT will not require the VAR team to draw or activate lines. Instead, a virtual line is generated automatically to identify skeletal data points like head, toes, upper arm and knees on multiple players.

One of the most exciting aspects of this new technology is its potential to enhance the viewing experience for fans both inside the stadium and watching from home. 

The system will provide spectators with a clearer understanding of offside decisions by generating high-quality broadcast graphics.

The technology is already used in the Champions League and Serie A. It was also used at December’s Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia, featuring Manchester City, and will be a feature of this summer’s European Championship in Germany.

This move is a proactive step towards embracing advancements that will benefit players, officials, and supporters alike.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) head of referees, Howard Webb, already announced that testing was taking place behind the scenes, and they have now decided to implement it.

PGMOL has come under fire for several contentious decisions that have had a massive impact on Premier League games.

By leveraging state-of-the-art technology, the league will ensure that matches are decided based on skill and performance rather than contentious officiating decisions.

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