Robot Referees Considered for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

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Written by Martin Graham | June 10, 2022

Robot referees selected to participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar may deploy the use of robots as assistant referees at the upcoming tournament in Qatar, according to the latest information from FIFA.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino earlier expressed his desire to improve the quality of management at the tournament. In his tenure, he began working with wholesale additions such as goal-line technology and video assistant referees.

Although this development has generated various reactions around the world, FIFA has come out to announce another management innovation: robot assistant referees.

Infantino says this innovation won’t see robots replace linemen and/or fourth official who announce replacements and keep time in games.

Their only duties will be to assist the main referees in making offside decisions. The central referee and his assistants are still largely responsible for the football match, according to Infantino.

The move may be seen as illogical given the presence of the VAR for this reason as well.

Infantino is considering a semi-automated stealth system

The FIFA president stated that he also considered the option of implementing a semi-automated offside system at the World Cup in Qatar. The semi-automated system will enable a harmonious partnership between technology and referees.

This system was piloted at the FIFA Club World Cup which Liverpool won earlier this year. The system was also tested at the Arab Cup held in Doha, Qatar. The semi-automated stealth system technology works like a CCTV setup, deploying 10 cameras to monitor 29 body points on each player which can be considered stealth in games.

The FIFA Committee of Officials has used several occasions of training camps to train referees on how to make arbitrary decisions and tough appeals on the field. The system will come to help if human capabilities fail.

The World Cup has many firsts

The meeting to discuss some of these issues was scheduled for early March in Zurich, Switzerland. This meeting had to be postponed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will now be held in Qatar.

The FIFA also reiterated that it is not a shame to push forward these modifications in the game, as they will undoubtedly bring positives to the sport.

The World Cup in Qatar will have many firsts in the tournament’s history. It is already set to become the first men’s World Cup to feature female referees.

The World Cup may also be the first major tournament to use this technology, but it remains to be seen if the football community is in line with FIFA’s lofty dreams and aspirations.

Martin Graham is a sports writer for the MFF Forum