Semi-automatic offside technology in Serie A from January

Semi-automatic offside technology will be introduced in Serie A next month, the Italian Football Confederation (FIGC) announced on Monday, as the country’s referees’ association searches for a new president following a drug-related scandal.

In a statement, the FIGC said the technology, developed by world governing body FIFA and used at the World Cup, will be used from the 20th match round on the last weekend of January following consultations with the national refereeing association AIA.

Those games, which include Serie A leaders Napoli and fierce rivals Roma, mark the second half of a league campaign that resumes in early January after the World Cup and winter break.

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The technology was tested at February’s FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi and last year’s Arab Cup before being used at the World Cup in Qatar and this season’s Champions League group stage.

It uses both dedicated cameras and broadcast cameras around the stadium to provide the exact position of players on the pitch, giving match officials accurate information in seconds.

The optical tracking system aims to make offside calls quicker and more accurate.

Offside decisions have continued to cause controversy in the VAR era in Italy, with a particularly bizarre case penalizing Juventus against Salernitana in September.

A VAR review led to Arkadiusz Milik’s stoppage-time header, which would have given Juve a 3-2 victory, ruled out because Leonardo Bonucci was offside and interfered with play.

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Footage later revealed showed Salernitana’s Antonio Candreva holding everyone off, but as he stood close to the corner flag, he was not spotted by VAR officials.

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The decision sparked outrage not only at Juve, but among football fans and pundits across Italy, in disbelief as to how the decision could have been wrong with so many cameras in place at the Allianz Stadium.

The AIA said at the time that VAR officials did not have access to the cameras which would have shown that Milik’s goal should have stood.

The announcement came after Monday’s FIGC board meeting, where president Gabriel Gravina also said elections for a new AIA chief would take place within 90 days of the resignation of AIA.’Alfredo Trentalange on Sunday.

Trentalange resigned under pressure from Gravina, who had threatened to put the AIA into administration if he did not resign, following the arrest of the body’s chief prosecutor for his alleged involvement in an international drug-trafficking network.

Rosario D’Onofrio was among dozens arrested in November, after which the AIA said D’Onofrio hid from them that he had been under house arrest for prior drug offenses when he asked to be promoted to prosecutor.

The FIGC said Monday that its own investigations revealed that when D’Onofrio was appointed prosecutor in early 2021, he was under house arrest and that between last September and this September, he “was not once allowed to leave his home”.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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