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Football: robot referees for the Club World Cup?

The World Cup of Clubs is currently underway in Abu Dhabi, starting with the upcoming clash between the Mexican club Monterrey and the Egyptian Al-Ahly. But this new edition of the competition that pits the winners of the different continental championships against each other will use a new technological feature: artificial intelligence!  

In football too, progress is unstoppable! After the often controversial introduction of VAR as a decision-making aid for referees, a new technology is coming to the world’s most watched sport: artificial intelligence.



50 actions per second

For the Clubs World Cup, currently being held in Abu Dhabi, the stadium ceilings in the UAE capital have been equipped with a system of cameras that analyze the movements of the players on the pitch, as well as those of the ball. All in order to be able to create 3-dimensional renderings of the course of events, and thus take advantage of the analysis capabilities of a machine, far superior to those of humans. Thus, the “referee-robot” could make well-informed decisions, after reviewing the same scene up to 50 times per second.

FIFA has confirmed that the tool will be used during the competition that starts on Thursday. If these tests are successful, it could well be a new turning point in the digitalization of refereeing in soccer, a sport known for its resistance to the introduction of new technologies.

It remains to be seen what the great defenders of the “magic and spontaneity of sport” will think…