Kuala Lumpur, 20 December 2023 - Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that match officials at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 will be able to enhance their decision-making process with the Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) system, which will be implemented at all 51 matches of the tournament.
This marks the first time that SAOT will be in place at an AFC competition and makes the AFC the first Confederation in world football to apply the system at the Continental Mens national team level, which further underscores the AFCs commitment towards improving accuracy and integrity of decision-making by its match officials.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: "Our Asian match officials are established as among the best in the world and the landmark debut of the Semi-Automated Offside Technology will only serve to drive them to set higher standards.
"The AFC is determined to continue to be leaders in world refereeing and by embracing the latest technological innovations, along with the full implementation of the Video Assistant Referee system at Asias crown jewel, it reinforces the AFCs Vision of providing the ultimate stage for our players, teams and record cast of match officials to shine." The SAOT system has undergone extensive testing, in line with protocols and guidelines issued by FIFA and approved by the IFAB, leading up to its implementation at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
This technology facilitates accurate and rapid position checks, utilizing artificial intelligence. When a player, who is perceived to be offside, receives the ball, an alert will be sent to the VAR, who is able to then check the position immediately from the offside lines drawn automatically by the technology. In every such instance, the final decision will require validation from the VAR before the on-field referee is informed. The final decision on the field of play will always be made by the referee.
Once the decision-making process has been completed, the same data points that were used to determine a players position will be generated into a 3D animation that will be shown on the giant screens at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 stadiums and will also be provided to TV broadcasters, which ensures transparent insight for fans.