Artificial Intelligence to be implemented at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

As the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 approaches, efforts are being made to remove “human errors” and delay gameplay with semi-automated VAR technology being introduced. Learning Thursday spoke to Nik Keene, Chief Product Officer at Planet Sport on his views of the new VAR technology.

LT – Once the technology is proven at the World Cup, could this be possibly rolled out across the Premier League quickly? 

One would hope so, the money is there in the game. If this enhances the fan experience, then we should push for it. We have VAR problems, and we need to design our way out of them.

LT – How groundbreaking is this technology (semi-automated technology)?

We have smart motorways and automated cars – checking player actions against the rules of football in real-time isn’t earth-shattering stuff, but we love our beautiful game, and the tech must enhance the entertainment, uphold the flow of the game, and not become a passion killer.

Semi-automated technology isn’t new and is huge in manufacturing. I see this as a ‘turning of the tables’, currently VAR relies on a human controller, whereas Semi-automated technology is typically orchestrated by a computer that will message a human for final verification.

I think clubs and fans generally accept VAR but complain about the time it takes for the officials to make a call. Computers don’t do pressure! They will not feel the gravitas of the situation and the implications of the decisions made. Computation has advanced humans in so many ways, this seems like a good move to me.

LT – Anything else you feel could be useful to share…

The proof is in the pudding. Let’s see how this pans out on the big stage. The fact is we have VAR, it is better than our old methods, but we need to put our heads together and make it better to fix the issues I hear football fans complain about week in, week out.

Why we liked this article

  • Artificial intelligence is becoming prevalent in all major sporting events, with semi-automated checks for offsides infringements in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
  • 12 new cameras will be installed under stadium lights to help track the movements of all players and the ball
  • 29 different data points will be assessed up to 50 times per second to make the correct offside call, therefore reducing human error
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