Chelsea To Trial Robot Referee At FIFA Club World Cup

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

2 Feb 2022

Chelsea FC will become the first Premier League club to trial FIFA’s new ‘robot referee’ technology at the Club World Cup.

Making use of 12 cameras in the roof of the stadium which tracks the movement of all the players and the ball, the ‘robot referee’ could be implemented at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar following a successful period at the Arab Cup.

The technology also aims to make automatic offside decisions within half a second.

FIFA’s football technology and innovation director Johannes Holzmuller explained: “When the ball is played, the real-time AI software can send a signal automatically to the VAR. We will have a committed assistant VAR who can process the offside data and help determine if the player deemed to be offside was active and interfering with play, so they can swiftly validate and confirm the decision.”

Holzmuller continued: “We strongly believe that access to this new data source can positively impact the game by optimising decision-making processes and increasing objectivity,”

“However, we are only at the beginning of this development journey and possible use cases need to be tested thoroughly to assess the capabilities with a view to eventual implementation.”

The Club World Cup kicks off on Thursday in Abu Dhabi where Champions League winners Chelsea will take on Tahiti’s AS Pirae, Al Jazira from Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.