VAR: FIFA are trialling limb-tracking technology for semi-automated offside decisions


The inconsistency of offside decisions has been one of the most frustrating aspects of VAR's introduction to the game. 

The mere sight of those dreaded lines on our screens is enough to induce bewilderment, leaving fans pondering what happened to a beautiful game that was once so wildly spontaneous and unpredictable. 

What can appear to be a perfectly-timed run in behind the defence is now regularly ruled offside by the tiniest of fractions, with armpits and kneecaps often adjudged to be in offside positions. 

While the manner in which these decisions are made has become a huge bugbear for most football fans, the time it takes for the VAR to make the final call is arguably the greatest cause of frustration. 

According to an exclusive report from the Daily Mail, however, that could be set to change in the coming years. 

The report claims that FIFA are trialling limb-tracking technology which carries the potential to make offside decisions instantaneously and therefore render the current line-drawing system obsolete. 

FIFA trialled the semi-automated offside system at the Club World Cup in Qatar last month, and findings on the results of the trails are set to be released in the coming days. 

The Daily Mail have revealed that officials at the Premier League are keen to get the technology signed off. 

The report also provides information on how exactly the technology will work.


'Artificial intelligence tracks the players' movements and identifies the exact moment a pass is made. The lines — as seen in the top picture above, an example from FIFA's website — are accurately placed on top of the video instantaneously.

'The VAR can then, within seconds, relay the offside to the assistant, who would raise his flag. The technology is so sophisticated that it can spot the tip of a striker's foot in real-time.'

Is this the technological saviour football needs? 

If there's one complaint fans have had about VAR's introduction, it's that the technology sucks the magic from the game. 

It's borderline impossible to celebrate when the lurking menace of VAR is waiting in the background to intervene and deprive your team of what looked like a perfectly good goal in real time. 


But celebrations could be resurrected by this mooted innovation.

Following the introduction of the new technology, the VAR would instantly be provided with an image to show that a player is offside, and they would then alert the referee within seconds. 

It's not quite as rapid a process as goal-line technology, but it certainly sounds more palatable than the current situation. 

FIFA are aiming to have the technology rolled out in time for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so it's unlikely that it will be used in the Premier League before 2023. 

The debate over when assistants should raise their flags in regards to marginal offside calls was reignited earlier this week. 

Rui Patricio suffered a head injury following a clash with Conor Coady on Monday after Mo Salah ran through on goal.


The Egyptian was ruled offside after putting the ball in the net, but the assistant's decision to leave his flag down sparked debate over whether the current instructions could also impact the safety of the players as well as the quality of the spectacle. 

With the potential arrival of a more time-efficient and game-changing solution, though, debates over marginal offside calls could soon become a thing of the past. 

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Let's start with an easy one. Which footballer do these eyes belong to?

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