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Semi-automated offside is coming to the Premier League

How the new technology will reduce the average decision time to 31 seconds ⏱️

The most annoying sight in the sport

Good news for everyone except Timo Werner: The Premier League will introduce semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) next season, in hopes of reducing the amount of time it takes to make VAR decisions.

How will it work?

SAOT will leverage the same cameras and software that UEFA uses in the Champions League, which automatically detect when the ball has been kicked and place lines onto both players and the pitch. This has two key benefits:

  • It reduces the likelihood of a potential offside being missed by the VAR, meaning offside calls will be more accurate.

  • Offside calls will also be quicker. SAOT eliminates situations where assistant referees are instructed to keep their flags down and let play continue, only to have it be brought back.

The Premier League believes that an average of 31 seconds will be saved on each decision with the removal of this manual process. Instead, assistant referees will have an earpiece informing them of the semi-automated offside decision and can raise their flag immediately. ⏱️

The technology has already been extensively tested by the Premier League, and its use at the World Cup in Qatar was a smashing success.

Slow your roll: Unfortunately for fans, the new technology won’t be rolled out immediately next season. The Premier League “anticipates the technology will be introduced after one of the autumn international breaks,” as additional testing is still required. Fans will still get a preview of similar technology that will be used at this summer’s Euros. 👏 

What are fans saying?

While the likelihood of soccer fans universally agreeing on something is usually as probable as a girl actually texting me back, this seems to be one of those rare times most fans agree this is a positive move from the Premier League.

The changes are, after all, designed to speed up the pace of play and reduce the lengthy VAR stoppages that have become an increasingly common sight in recent seasons. But, even if semi-automated offside accomplishes that, critics point out that it betrays the spirit of the game by hyper-analyzing decisions that are a matter of millimeters; Watch any passage of play in slow-motion and you’ll find an infraction not called by the human official.

Wherever you stand on the matter, it’s refreshing to see the PGMOL making changes in an attempt to improve the game. It’s just shocking the Turkish Süper Lig beat them to it… 🤦‍♂️