In the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 between host Qatar and Ecuador, the first goal of the tournament was ruled out for offside within a quick span of time. FIFA’s brand new Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) was responsible for this quick decision.


What is ‘Offside rule’?

  • An attacking player is considered to be in an offside position if —
    • any part of their body – except hands and arms – is in the opposing team’s half; and
    • there’s no opposing player between attacking player and the goalkeeper before the ball is played forward.
  • Being in an offside position is not an offence in itself.
  • However, the moment the player in the offside position plays the ball or attempts to play the ball, then it will be seen as actively involved in play and that is when the offence occurs.
  • When a player is flagged, the only sanction is that the ball is given to your opponents to restart play in the form of a free kick in their own half of the pitch.


About the Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT)

  • SAOT is a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more reproducible and more accurate offside decisions.
  • FIFA had announced that semi-automated offside technology will be used at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar starting on 21 November.