UEFA will introduce connected technology into the Adidas FUSSBALLLIEBE ball for Euro 2024 to improve the accuracy of semi-automated offside VAR decisions, as well as provide additional tracking data for players.
The same technology was used by FIFA at the World Cup in the Adidas Al Rihla ball, and it was able to conclusively prove that Cristiano Ronaldo did not make any contact for Portugal‘s opener in their 2-0 win over Uruguay.
UEFA’s semi-automated offside system being used in the Champions League does not have a chip inside the ball, meaning Artificial Intelligence (AI) alone has to make up for any issues in accurately detecting the kick-point for offside.
FUSSBALLLIEBE, which means “Football Love,” will be used through the finals of the Euros in Germany next summer.
Semi-automated offside uses a series of cameras in the stadium roof to track all 22 players on the pitch and map their position, so the VAR does not need to manually create the offside lines. A sensor is in the centre of the Adidas ball, recording data 500 times a second to detect when the ball has been kicked. It is intended to be quicker, more accurate and provide a 3D visualisation of the decision.
Serie A is the only other major league to use semi-automated offside, without a chipped ball, while LaLiga has confirmed it plans to introduce it next season and Premier League clubs are expected to hold a vote in March after continuing trials through this campaign.
The time needed to make a VAR offside decision should be reduced from an average of 70 seconds to 25, while fans inside the stadiums and viewers watching on television will be provided with a 3D animation to clearly show the offside.
Clubs in England’s top flight rejected a proposal to introduce the technology at the start of this season, unconvinced it was the right time. But the Premier League has suffered a series of offside errors this calendar year, although semiautomated offside would not have prevented the failure to correct Luis Díaz‘s wrongly disallowed goal for Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur as that was a communication error.