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The University of Southampton

Technology to improve offside decisions

Published: 3 August 2005

A final-year computer science student has come up with a proposal to tag football players in an effort to improve the accuracy of offside decisions.

While watching a football match, Jonathan Dunne, who has just completed his MEng in Computer Science at the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton, grew increasingly frustrated with rulings made by the Referee's Assistant and decided to base his final-year research project on how technology could be used to improve the accuracy of offside decisions.

He found that through using Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID), tags could be embedded on each player's kit and within the match ball. Each of the tags could then pass position data for each of the players and the ball to a central server which would perform the business logic of determining whether an offside infringement had taken place.

Jonathan compared this technology with other possibilities such as Satellite Tracking Technology and Video Content Analysis Technology and found that it was more accurate and affordable.

He commented: "The offside rule in Association Football is complex and often Referee's Assistants make incorrect decisions which can cost a club not only a game, but potentially millions of pounds in lost revenue.

"There are many hurdles to overcome in order to employ technology to assist in the making of offside decisions, but as it stands at the moment, a solution based on RFID technology offers the best accuracy for position determination and therefore would provide the most accurate system."

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